HomeHeadlinesGlobal media lampoons Mnangagwa after booze fiasco

Global media lampoons Mnangagwa after booze fiasco

BY MOSES MATENGA  
As excitement dies down among President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s backers about his maiden trip to a Western capital as Zimbabwe’s leader, images of his supporters wheeling copious amounts of alcohol from a Glasgow shop continues to be fodder for global media.

A video of two self- proclaimed Zanu PF supporters pushing trolleys full of kinds of alcohol as they prepared to celebrate Mnangagwa’s arrival for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop26) went viral.

While Mnangagwa bragged on his return that the trip was a diplomatic triumph for him as he got the ear of Western leaders that have isolated Zimbabwe for two decades, the globe feasted on the booze fuelled spectacle by the Zanu PF supporters.

“Our country is falling apart…Never mind, let’s party!” screamed a headline in one of the UK’s publications Daily Mail, which has an average readership of over three million.

“Unemployment and inflation in Zimbabwe are currently sky-high.

“And the country’s leader is accused of presiding over a regime as oppressive and ruthless as that of predecessor Robert Mugabe,” added the story in the publication’s print edition, which was accompanied by pictures of Mnangagwa’s supporters pushing trolleys full of alcohol.

Another headline in the paper’s online edition screamed: “Raise a glass to saving the planet!…

“Zimbabweans stock up on Costco whisky, wine and beer in Glasgow as they hold a huge party to welcome president Emmerson ‘the crocodile’ Mnangagwa.”

For The Times, a respected global media outlet, it summed up Mnangagwa’s trip thus: “Zimbabwe’s boozy COP26 party doesn’t go well at home.”

Another online publication inews.co.uk also criticised the drinking spree while highlighting the poverty in Zimbabwe.

“Supporters of the president of Zimbabwe welcomed his ostentatious arrival at the COP26 summit in Glasgow with trolleys full of alcohol,” says  a story under the headline “COP26: Supporters of Zimbabwe president mark his UK arrival on private jet with alcohol-fuelled celebration” read in part.

One of the Mnangagwa supporters captured on camera buying alcohol Kudzai Makuku, who is based in Cambridge in the UK defended the partying saying: “Good things ought to be celebrated.”

“We were buying drinks and celebrating the arrival of our president in the UK.

“You have to understand that success has to be celebrated.

“This is the first time that a sitting president has arrived in the UK in the past 20 years,” he said.

On the source of funds for the mega party that observers speculated was funded by the state, Makuku said the Zanu PF UK branch with over 5000 members mobilised for the festivities.

Mnangagwa flew into Scotland in a hired luxurious Airbus A319-115 (CJ) that the UK media said costs an average £304,000 to hire for a one-way trip from capital Harare to Glasgow.

Mnangagwa hired the jet from Azerbaijan.

Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said the extravagance by the Zimbabwean delegation exposed Mnangagwa’s administration.

“The Scotland trip by Mnangagwa and the extravagance that we are seeing indicate the very contradictions of his reformist agenda and the continued abuse of state resources by those around him and himself,” Mukundu said.

“For a country struggling on many fronts, one would expect people to be more cautious in terms of how they use state resources but as you can see, there is absolutely no interest by this government to be more prudent in terms of resource utilisation and this is a sad part of what the ordinary person knows that there is huge abuse of resources within the government.

“Some of these foreign trips are nothing more than just an opportunity to milk the Treasury, moreso looking at the tens and tens of people who have no slightest idea of why they are in Scotland, but now they are part of the trip by the head of state.”

MDC Alliance treasurer David Coltart said Mnangagwa’s team was recklessly extravagant in the use of resources.

“We can safely reach two conclusions regarding Zanu PF’s performance at @COP26.

“The Zimbabwean delegation was shamefully and embarrassingly profligate and Mnangagwa’s actions were viewed in sharp and critical contrast against (Zambian President Hakainde) Hichilema,” Coltart tweeted.

Hichilema was praised for travelling by a commercial flight to Glasgow with a lean delegation.

The Zambian leader also struck deals worth billions of dollars for his country.

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