Mugabe foreign trips cost cash-strapped Zim $50 million

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's office spent more than $50 million on foreign travel last year, official figures show.

According to a financial statement published in the latest government gazette, foreign travel expenses totalled $53.2 million in 2016.

According to the figures in the "Consolidated Statement of Financial Performance of the Consolidated Revenue Fund", this was way above the $23 million initially allocated for travel under last year’s budget.

The private Financial Gazette paper, citing treasury figures, on Thursday reported that Mugabe’s office had already spent $34.4 million on travel by October. 

The allocation for foreign travel expenses exceeded those made to other key ministries and institutions, the paper said. By comparison, only $30 million was allocated to parliament and $35 million to the industry ministry.

Mugabe’s numerous foreign trips are criticised by opponents as unnecessary at a time the government is struggling to pay wages and properly equip public hospitals. 

The 93-year-old was earlier this week in Addis Ababa for an African Union summit, where he handed over a cheque for $1 million to the bloc raised from the sale of donated Zimbabwean cattle.

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