President Emmerson Mnangagwa summoned a private jet from France to fly him the round trip to Bulawayo from Harare.
The US$30,000-per-hour Boeing 737 flew 11,330km to pick up the Zanu PF leader, whose government is accused of profligacy in the face of a deepening economic crisis.
With doctors on strike over poor pay and public sector workers declaring they are no longer able to report for work after their salaries were wiped out by hyperinflation, the government has so far snubbed growing demands to cap Mnangagwa’s runaway travel bill.
The luxuriously-fitted jet owned by Royal Jet of the United Arab Emirates developed a technical fault in Lyon, France, last week just before Mnangagwa was due to fly to Harare. The government booked him another private jet from Abu Dhabi.
The previously stricken jet, registration A6-RJX, finally took off from Lyon on Wednesday and flew straight to Harare to position for the 35-minute flight to Zimbabwe’s second city, data from flight-tracking websites shows.
Mnangagwa officiated at the ZimTrade Annual Exporters’ Conference in Bulawayo.
“Once again we get a whole luxury aircraft hired from Dubai to fly Mr Mnangagwa from Harare to Bulawayo when doctors can’t even afford to catch a taxi to work,” MDC treasurer David Coltart said. “The callousness and insensitivity of this regime to the appalling suffering of people is now simply disgusting.”
Mnangagwa has undertaken close to 40 foreign trips since seizing power in a military coup in November 2017, all undertaken by private jets hired from the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.
Mnangagwa also appears to have elected not to fly on commercial flights locally. He previously summoned the same aircraft from Dubai to fly him to Gweru and Victoria Falls.