The first Zimbabwe Airways Boeing B777, with the personalized registration number Z-RGM (Zim-Robert Gabriel Mugabe), arrived in the country on Wednesday.
The plane is one of four planes which were purchased from Malaysia. The planes were purchased from Malaysian Airlines, which decommissioned the planes following the disappearance of two successive Boeing 777s flights including the MH370 flight.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered the planes to be brought into the countryafter they were purchased using taxpayer funds. However, the ownership of Zimbabwe Airlines is murky and Mnangagwa is reported to have ordered an investigation to look into who owns the company.
Officiating at the delivery event Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Patrick Chinamasa addressed the ownership question. Chinamasa said that the plane belongs to the Republic of Zimbabwe and categorically stated that it did not belong to the former first family.
The minister also revealed that three more planes are expected to be delivered in a deal worth $70 million although the government has only managed to pay for two planes so far. . Chinamasa added that the planes are owned by a special purpose vehicle called Zimbabwe Aviation Leasing Company and are being leased to Zimbabwe Airways which is 100 owned by the government.
Chinamasa also thanked former President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore for assisting the government in purchasing the planes due to his expertise. Simba was one of the pilots who flew the plane.