President Mugabe is in Dubai to attend the World Energy Forum which has been snubbed by Energy Minister Elton Mangoma who described it as “another talk show”.
Mangoma, who spoke to VOA Studio 7 on record but did not want to go on tape, said he was invited to the meeting but snubbed it because he saw it as a waste of money.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has in the past blamed government officials for spending too much money on foreign jaunts. Last year alone these trips gobbled up $45.5 million of the national fiscus.
Mangoma said: “I know there is going to be a lot of speculation as to why I did not go but the truth is that I was invited in March and made a decision that I would not go and waste money that could be put to good use.”
President Mugabe, according to the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, is accompanied by his wife, Grace, and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.
The ZBC did not mention the size of Mr. Mugabe’s delegation which last year in June topped 92 people when he went to Brazil for a conference on sustainable development.
The trip cost the country more than $7 million.
Political analyst Sabelo Ndlovu Gatsheni, a researcher at the University of South Africa, said the president's trip is unproductive as he was last year listed as owing the Zimbabwe power utility over $300,000.