Minister cagey over bloated govt delegation to Cop26 summit

By Nkosana Dlamini

Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has demanded comparative country statistical evidence from opposition legislator Edwin Mushoriwa who had challenged the Zanu PF top official to justify government’s controversial flying of a bloated 130-member official delegation to the COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland last week.

In a question directed to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube during the ministers’ question time in Parliament Wednesday, Mushoriwa asked what government policy was regarding the size of the country’s delegations to international conferences.

Ziyambi, speaking in the capacity of leader of government business in the house and on behalf of minister Ncube, said, “Attendance at a conference is by invitation. If you have been invited, it means you have a part to play. Everyone who goes to a conference has an invitation. If you do not have an invitation, you are a stranger and you will not be allowed in.”

But an unsatisfied Mushoriwa became direct with Ziyambi, questioning the top government official on why a cash-strapped Zimbabwe government dispatched a delegation that was 10 times bigger than those of the country’s neighbours.

“Can the honourable minister explain to us – the Conference held in Glasgow, Zimbabwe sent a delegation of about 130 people and yet other countries within the region sent far less or even 10% of that number.

“What justification for us as a country was there to send such a large delegation given the economic situation that Zimbabwe is in?” he said.

However, a cagey Ziyambi elected to flip it on the MDC Alliance lawmaker, demanding he furnishes a comparative list of country delegations to support his claims Zimbabwe’s delegation was indeed too big.

Said Ziyambi, “Madam Speaker, I request that Honourable Mushoriwa, since he is very privy to the specific people that attended the conference – may he forward that information and also a comparative list of the other countries that he is referring to and I will respond.”

Mushoriwa promised to bring the information this Thursday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who claims Western imposed sanctions have handicapped his administration from attempts to bring about important national development over the years, has come under fire for deploying scarce national resources while transporting the giant delegation.

Some of the delegates have been caught on video shopping for alcohol to binge during the important event.

The often-extravagant junkets are financed in scarce foreign currency through treasury, which continuously claims it has no money to raise wages for suffering public servants.

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