Mugabe embarks on his 22nd foreign trip this year

2015-07-08 18:59
Robert Mugabe (File: AP)

Robert Mugabe (File: AP)

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Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has reportedly left Harare for a United Nations (UN) conference - according to reports his 22nd foreign trip this year.

According to New, Mugabe, who is accompanied by his wife Grace and several government officials, is set to attend a high level International Ebola Recovery Conference in New York hosted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

More than 11 000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been killed following the Ebola outbreak in December 2013.

The conference is set to ensure that the affected countries receive the necessary support and resources to combat the disease.

Officials from Mugabe's office said he would attend the conference in his capacity as the African Union (AU) chair, according to the report.

Mugabe’s opponents have in recent months criticised him for his numerous foreign trips, saying the nonagenarian is spending millions of scarce cash as he travels with a large delegation.  

'Diligent person'

Reports last month estimated the veteran leader's trips to have cost about $70m.

A Daily News report said earlier this week that Mugabe was now dubbed the "visiting leader" as he had become a "serial traveller".

The report quoted observers as saying that by the time Mugabe returned from New York, he would have travelled more than 220 000km this year alone.

Mugabe was in Mozambique recently, attending that country's 40th independence anniversary. Before that, he was in South Africa for the AU summit. He has also been to Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan and Egypt.

Mugabe has also been to the Far East five times this year alone.

The country's Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa last month defended Mugabe's trips abroad, saying he (Mugabe) was a "diligent person discharging his duties as head of African regional blocs".

"I hope you are not making a criticism of the president’s trips because he is chairperson of AU and SADC [Southern African Development Community], and he will be in that position until January next year... He is a diligent person and he is discharging his duties to his utmost ability, more than any other past chairpersons due to his concern for pan-Africanism," Chinamasa was quoted as saying.

Read more on:    un  |  au  |  sadc  |  grace mugabe  |  ban ki-moon  |  patrick chinamasa  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  ebola
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