New regime, old habits
BACK IN THE DAY: Emmerson Mnangangwa with Robert Mugabe

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Former president, Robert Mugabe loved travelling abroad and was often accused of blowing up taxpayer’s money in travel costs and allowances for his entourage.

When stories about how much had been gobbled up in one trip came out in the media, the government spokesperson would go at great lengths to explain and justify the trip even though it was clear that nothing had been achieved from the gallivanting.

Well, as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Zimbabwe may have had a major change of guard when Mugabe was pushed out but his habits and leadership style are surely here to stay.

Last week, the current government spent more than US$1.2 million, chartering a private plane for President Emmerson Mnangangwa for his trip to China.

This amount does not include, accommodation expenses, food and other allowances for him and his delegation and one can only wonder what the whole amount adds up to.

Government spokesperson, George Charamba has been all over trying to justify this expenditure and the necessity of this trip but one can clearly tell that the man is simply doing what he is paid to do, which is being a spin-doctor, as his explanation is far from convincing.

What is becoming clear to the masses is that just like his predecessor, Mnangagwa does not think twice about spending taxpayers’ money on trips that don’t add value to the general populace.

It is also becoming clear that, just like Mugabe, it’s all about signing mega deals with the Chinese, Russians and other ‘investors’ though these deals never come to fruition.

Everything just starts and ends with signatures on paper, yet when the state media reports, we are made to believe that that these multi-billion dollar deals will turn around the country’s economy.

If all the mega deals were anything to go by, Zimbabwe wouldn’t be a cashless country and the government wouldn’t be struggling to pay public servants salaries.

Talking of struggling to pay civil servants, the current regime announced in December that it would retrench more than 3000 youth officers in a bid to save at least US$19.3 million per annum.

Well, just like the Mugabe led government which would indicate left but turn right, it has since emerged that these youth officers who are Zanu PF foot soldiers will continue to receive salaries as public servants when they are supposed to be paid by the ruling party.

On the other hand, first lady Auxillia Mngangagwa continues to be a newsmaker in the state media, which covers all of her silly events.

She has been all over the country visiting public hospitals, donating this and that, and all of these have made it to ZTV news.

In one of the events, she was captured on her knees serving traditional leaders tea as if we care whether she is well mannered or not.

Of course the idea is to portray her as a grounded, motherly first lady, unlike Grace Mugabe who was seen as an ill-mannered woman with verbal diarrhea but honestly, who cares.

People have more pressing issues to worry about and can’t be bothered about whether the first lady serves tea standing, seated or on her knees.

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