Mugabe Pays For All His Flights – Ex-Air Zim Boss

He also dispelled reports that he occasionally commandeers flights for personal use.

Peter Chikumba described the beliefs as nonsense to Radio VOP.

“Its nonsensical for anybody to allege that the president doesn’t pay for his trips, if I were to show you the numbers you will be shocked every trip that we have had with the President has been paid for,” said Chikumba who quit the airline with effect of January 1 this year to pursue other interests. “We planned it, we always got a notice.”

He however said the airline’s operations were sometimes affected when the president extended his VIP charters in foreign countries.

“We cannot do anything about it, neither can he because sometimes when he goes to meetings out of the country which take long than the anticipated time,” said Chikumba.

Last September an Air Zimbabwe plane spent extra days parked at the Hosea Kutako International Airport in Namibia while waiting for Mugabe who was attending the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) summit meeting.

Critics accuse Mugabe of diverting Air Zimbabwe planes from scheduled flights whenever he wishes to fly outside the country on business and private trips leaving passengers stranded.

Air Zimbabwe was one of the best airlines in Africa at independence in 1980. But years of mismanagement and interference by the government have nearly brought the airline to its knees.

The airline’s foreign debt has soared to US$ 64 million since 2000.