By Leopold Munhende
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is taking a bloated entourage of over 100 people to the 26th edition of the United Nations Climate Change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, including family members, friends and Zanu-PF youths who will enjoy a two-week long stay in the UK on taxpayer’s funds.
This was revealed by Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) director Farai Maguwu.
The trip will be Mnangagwa’s first to the UK and the only one by a Zimbabwean state leader in 25 years as a result of a diplomatic tiff that arose during the chaotic land reform programme early 2000s.
“Our ‘sanctions-afflicted’ Zimbabwe is sending a delegation of more than 100 people to COP26 in Glasgow, some are already there whilst others are packing their bags. Of the 100 plus delegates, more than 60 have nothing to do with Climate Change,” Maguwu revealed in a series of Twitter posts.
“Among the non-technical members who constitute majority of the delegates are relatives and friends of powerful officials responsible for selecting those attending the jamboree. Some technical staff could not travel to Scotland because spaces had been taken by non-technical climate tourists,” he said.
“Zimbabwe’s delegation is said to be more than double that of South Africa whose population is more than four times bigger than ours whilst their economy is thousand times better and healthier than ours. Our non-technical delegates on the other hand have found yet another reason to spend what we do not have. Cyclone Idai victims still crying for help to build back better their lives ruined by the climate induced disaster,” he added.
“Amazing what we can do in spite of sanctions and what we claim we cannot do when it comes to developing our country and investing in our people.”
Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba’s mobile number was not being picked while Information ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana did not respond to questions sent via WhatsApp.
Without revealing who will make it, Lands and Agriculture pinistry permanent secretary John Bhasera told Journalists Tuesday, Zimbabwe will be sending a “strong delegation” to the summit.
Mnangagwa is elated to be headed for UK himself, having earlier declared: “I am eagerly looking forward to my first visit to the United Kingdom. COP26 meeting of nations comes at an extraordinary time in world history,” Mnangagwa said Tuesday.