PRESIDENT Robert and wife Grace were Monday set to leave the country headed for different destinations in another serious drain on an already overburdened fiscus.
Mugabe is due in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo for a World Heal Organisation (WHO) conference that begins Wednesday while Grace will represent her 93-year-old husband at a function where he will be honoured with some accolade in Russia.
“The First Lady will travel to Russia and represent the President at the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) set for Moscow. She will receive an award on his behalf and join youths from across the world,” sources said.
Mugabe brought forward the sitting of Cabinet from the usual Tuesday to Monday. Cabinet does not meet in his absence, although he has two vice presidents deputising him.
The veteran leader also postponed the Lupane University Graduation ceremony initially scheduled for this Friday.
The Zanu PF leader ordinarily blows over $10 million on each trip that draws a huge entourage of dozens of hangers on who are guaranteed State funded per diems.
Information minister Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed Mugabe would be travelling.
“It’s what I hear (that Mugabe is travelling) but I do not have details. Check with (Presidential spokesperson) George Charamba,” said Khaya Moyo.
Charamba was not immediately available for comment.
Zimbabwe’s only leader since independence in 1980 does not miss an opportunity for international travel and will be attending the WHO Dialogue Meeting on Communicable Diseases that will run from 18-20 October.
Meanwhile, the 19th World Federation for Democratic Youths (WFDY) festival to be held in Sochi, Russia will according to State media recognise Mugabe as one of the four world leaders “who have spearheaded the fight against imperialism”.
Two weeks ago, WFDY president Nikolas Papadimitriou was in Harare accompanied by DRC youth league leader, Patrick Nkanga and two SWAPO (Namibia) youth leaders Naftau Kambunga and Ephraim Nekongo.
“The other leaders are Fidel Castro Ruz of Cuba, Chez Guevara of Argentina and the late Abdel Aziz of Western Saharawi,” ZBC reported early this month.
Zanu PF politburo secretary for youth Kudzai Chipanga is already in Russia for the event which kicked off at the weekend.
The World Festival for Youths and Students is the biggest gathering of students convened by WFDY since 1947 when Africa was fighting colonialism and Europe was fighting fascism.- newzim