OPPOSITION parties, political analysts and civic society organisations
yesterday lashed out at government for failing to raise money to bring
back home 32 of the over 200 Zimbabwean women stranded in Kuwait, saying
it only shows that President Robert Mugabe’s administration had
Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi on Wednesday said government had no money to bring back the women stranded in Kuwait after falling victim of human trafficking, leaving businessman Wicknell Chivayo to pay $58 000 from his own pocket for their air fares.
The MDC-T said the failure by government to prioritise its citizens stranded in a foreign land was an embarrassment to the country, and showed the extent to which Mugabe’s government did not care about its people.
“Only a few days ago, Mugabe blew more than $3 million to attend a very low-key conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York, but the same Zanu PF regime says it doesn’t have a mere $58 000 that was needed to buy air tickets for our stranded women in Kuwait!” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
“This is a circus, really! It also just goes to show that Mugabe only cares about himself and nobody else.” People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said it was ironic the government had no money to bring back its stranded citizens, but could afford to have Mugabe’s daughter give birth in the Middle East in “five-star hospitals”.
Mugabe early this month disclosed that his daughter, Bona, chose to give birth in the Middle East ahead of ahead of local hospitals.
Zimbabwe People First Harare provincial spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said: “A government that cannot help its citizens, especially women and children in dire circumstances, is not worth another day in office.
“It’s surprising that the same government has always managed to raise money for Mugabe and his huge entourage to fly to useless overseas gatherings like some arts festival.”
Mawarire said the coming-in of Chivayo to take over a duty government was supposed to perform showed that government operated through proxies who benefit from it through “tenderenuership”.
“These are the same people who will fund Zanu PF electoral malfeasance and other attendant shenanigans like ‘meet-the-people’ rallies,” he added.
Welshman Ncube’s MDC said the decision by government not to fund the women’s travel back home was shameful.
“Surely if government can afford to blow $20 million in less than six months on President Mugabe’s wasteful and useless trips abroad, it can afford to set aside $12 000 for a worthwhile cause to bring back the women stranded in Kuwait,” Kurauone Chihwayi, the party spokesperson, said.
Political analyst Alexander Rusero said: “It is a constitutional necessity and mandatory, unless we say that the government has become a dictatorship, for dictators don’t care for anyone apart from themselves.”
Another political analyst, Vivid Gwede, said government had a clear role to play to protect its citizens.
“The government has to accept its own culpability at least because lack of opportunities in Zimbabwe is behind the desperate migration by Zimbabweans, who then fall into these evil human trafficking nets in search of jobs. So, evacuating victims will be a way of saying sorry for failing to create jobs for people back home,” he said.
Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance chairperson Lynnette Tendayi Mudehwe, whose organisation led a protest march against Kuwait early this month over the trafficked women, said government did not care for its citizens.
“For a government that can afford to sponsor more than a hundred security personnel to accompany the President on foreign trips with obscene allowances to say it can’t afford to fly our girls from Kuwait, is a bad joke,” she said. newsday