Zimbabwe’s main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has taken a swipe at President Robert Mugabe for attending the UN Oceans Conference that opened in New York on Monday at a time when the Southern African country’s economy is floundering.
Mugabe (93) took two Cabinet ministers and his wife, Grace, with him, among an entourage of senior government officials. MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said the nonagenarian should have remained in landlocked Zimbabwe to address a myriad of problems affecting the country.
“It’s a total embarrassment; Zimbabwe is a small landlocked country and the nearest ocean is the Indian Ocean, which is about 1 000km away. The summit that Mugabe is attending is ocean-themed and we are taken aback at a bankrupt country like Zimbabwe run by a bankrupt regime having a president being the first one to arrive at such a summit. As a country, we have no reason to be at that conference,” said Gutu.
The New York conference is expected to adopt an inter-governmental declaration in support of the implementation of the UN Sustainable Developments Goal 14 that seeks to prevent and reduce marine pollution and end overfishing in oceans, among other things.
Gutu described Mugabe as “heartless” and called for Zimbabweans to vote him out of power in the 2018 elections “in order to stop his spending jamborees”.
Gutu, who described Mugabe as “the visiting president”, accused the Zimbabwean leader of misusing public funds.
“There is no reason for him to go with Grace. We all know that Grace buys expensive luxury items whenever she goes outside the country so this trip is all about shopping in Manhattan and Queens. We know that whenever Mugabe goes out of the country, he goes away with $4 million in spending money.”