President Robert Mugabe has left Harare for Maputo, Mozambique where he will attend the neighbouring country’s 40thIndependence Day commemorations to be held tomorrow.
Mugabe was seen off at the Harare International Airport by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Defence MinisterDr Sidney Sekeramayi, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda and service chiefs.Notably , Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was not there after being kicked out of cabinet meeting yesterday.
Mozambique will this Thursday mark 40 years of independence from Portuguese rule.
The neighbouring country’s history can not be separated from Zimbabwe as the two share not only common borders but a history of struggle against colonialism.
For over a decade, Mozambicans fought against the Portuguese to gain their independence.
Under the leadership of Edwardo Mondlane and later Samora Machel, the ruling Frelimo party waged the war that finally toppled Portuguese rule in 1975.
After independence, the Mozambican government under President Samora Machel opened borders for Zimbabwe’s liberation movements.
When Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980, it was not long before they also came to the rescue of their neighbours who were under threat from the RENAMO rebels backed by Apartheid South Africa.
Peace finally came to Mozambique in 1992 through the Rome Accord in which President Mugabe was central in brokering the deal.
Heads of state and government will attend Mozambique’s 40th independence celebrations and President Mugabe who is also the African Union (AU) and SADC chairman is among the invited guests.
The independence celebrations will be held at Machava Stadium in Maputo.
Mugabe — who has been in and out of the country no less than 14 times in the past 6 months — spends at least
$2 million for the duration of the chartered Air Zimbabwe aircraft wherever he travels and allowances of his staff.
Well-placed government sources said Mugabe alone receives $600 000 in allowances on each trip, with each aide travelling with him getting a minimum of at least $500 per day depending on the destination.
Besides the travel allowances, the government pays for the President’s hotel stay, where he is booked with at least 60 aides, including a medical doctor, in top-class hotels.
“The President gets $600 000 in allowances for his incidental cover, and in the past two months, Treasury has paid at least $3,6 million for the presidential allowances, excluding the money given to his aides,” a source within the Office of the President said.
“Air Zimbabwe gets on average $1 million for each trip depending on the route and how long the President will spend on that trip.”
The Office of the President manages its own budget.