Some opposition parties in Zimbabwe have castigated President Robert Mugabe for visiting America to attend a climate change event when the country is facing serious economic problems.
One of the critics is Marceline Chikasha, president of the African Democratic Party, who says Mr. Mugabe should stop attending such events and concentrate on the drought that is currently ravaging the nation and other problems.
Marceline Chikasha - ADP President
"The president should be spending his time coming up with solutions for the drought facing the country and the cash crisis not gallivanting to the United States where he is expected to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. This could have been done at ministerial level," said Chikasha.
According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, President Mugabe left Harare Tuesday night for the meeting and was accompanied by a high level delegation that included Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri and several senior state officials.
"The president should be entrusting his ministers with handling such events and signings but because he has been recycling them for so long some of them are no longer aware of what their duties are. This is not a time to be leaving the country, its burning and needs leadership,” said Chikasha.
The Paris agreement will be signed Friday and follows the COP21 Paris meeting held in France last year. Efforts to get a comment from presidential spokesman George Charamba were fruitless.
According the the United Nations, representatives of 155 countries are expected to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on Friday.
"The number of countries that have indicated their intentions to attend and sign the Paris Agreement on 22 April is now up to 155," said UN secretary general's spokesperson Farhan Haq at a press conference Friday
In a statement, Haq said the signing ceremony is a landmark international event.