HARARE—Ordinary Zimbabweans have slammed the First Family for going on holiday in the Far East while most of them are unable enjoy the festive season as they have either not been paid or have no money to do so due the prevailing harsh economic environment.
Most Zimbabweans have described President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, as irresponsible, saying going on holiday abroad when the majority of the population is wallowing in poverty showed they did not care about struggling local people.
Harare resident, Moses Chungwa, said it was unfair for the president to go outside the country when people are suffering.
Chungwa said, “How can he go for a holiday abroad whilst this country is suffering? It’s not good.”
Another local resident, Andrew Phiri, said it was unacceptable of the president to go abroad especially after he had acknowledged at a party he held for senior government officials that the economic situation in the country was not good.
He said while the president is entitled to an annual holiday, he should enjoy it locally given the prevailing economic situation in the country.
Phiri said, “Locally there are many resort areas where he can enjoy with his family than to carry a contingent of more than 200 people to the Far East. It seems as if he is carrying his friends to go and do shopping using government coffers while the majority of the people are suffering and had a dull Christmas.”
John Moyo also of Harare said the timing of the president’s holiday to Far East was wrong given that most people in the country are suffering and did not enjoy Christmas holidays.
Moyo said, “Look the economy is on its knees, the country is almost cash dry, I am sure the president should have remained in the country attending to some of the urgent issues like the issue of civil servants bonuses but when the leader of a nation chooses to go out and enjoy himself with his family I see it as being arrogant.”
But political commentator and Great Zimbabwe University lecturer, Joel Makusha, said there was nothing wrong with the president’s leave as long as it was budgeted for.
He said it was proper for President Mugabe to go on leave so that he comes back rejuvenated to deal with the many challenges affecting the nation.
Tshuma said, “The point is were they going to be paid even if he was here, that is the fundamental question you must ask yourself. The minister responsible is running around mobilizing resources so that all civil servants are paid. So, I mean, it does not need the president to be in the office for all that to happen.”
Tshuma noted that the government is still functioning in the absence of President Mugabe.
“The president is actually human and so it is important to note that every human being goes on leave and while he goes on leave it does not mean that the government ceases functioning. That is why in his place we have got an acting president which means that it’s business as usual nothing stops. If ever there is need for him to come he is only a phone call away.”
Mr. Mugabe traditionally takes his leave during this time of the year and usually spends it the Far East where he also goes for medical checkups. – VOA