#ShutdownZimbabwe: President in Europe as Protests Flare

Harare — As the nation grapples recent fuel price increases, Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on a two-week long visit to 5 different countries.

Mnangagwa announced the new prices of petrol and diesel prices, doubling their prices. The decision has since torched riots, reminiscent of the August 1 2018 protests, but this time concentrated in residential areas. 

Four people are alleged to have been shot during the violent protests.

While in Eastern Europe, he will engage in bilateral engagements, while in Switzerland the President will head Zimbabwe’s delegation to the World Economic Forum (WEF).
President Emmerson Mnangagwa Arrives in Russia in a Private Jet Costing an Estimated $70 000 an Hour

The nation will feature at the WEF for the second year running. Manangagwa will hold high-level talks in Moscow, Astana (Kazakhstan), Minsk (Belarus), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Davos (Switzerland).

Zimbabwe has long-standing political ties with Russia. Relations with Belarus have been growing in recent years, most notably from the time then Vice President Mnangagwa engaged investors in Minsk in 2015. 

One of the major issues on the table when President Mnangagwa meets Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will be the US$3 billion Darwendale platinum project, a joint mining and beneficiation venture.

According to information at hand, the feasibility study for phase one was presented mid-last year, and that segment of the project is expected to be completed in early 2019. 

Phase one will cover building of the plant, and surface and supporting infrastructure at a cost of US$500 million.

Phase two has been scheduled for March 2019 to October 2030, and will include construction and commissioning of a smelter as the mine churns out 16 tonnes of ore. Under the third phase (2030-2039), production should increase to 25 tonnes.

Besides platinum, the Darwendale claim holds gold, nickel, copper, palladium and rhodium.

Other major highlights are the interest of Alrosa — which accounts for 28 percent of global diamond extraction — in coming into Zimbabwe and capacitation of the recently-launched Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency.

Mnanagwa's critics has questioned his trip on a private jet, while the country smoulders.

"Zimbabwe is burning while @edmnangagwa eats cake in his Dreamliner. If I were him, I would cancel the trip & address the discontent. 

"All Zimbabweans want is a better life & dignity - not a Govt that expects the people to “take the pain” while they swim in luxury," said Advocate, Tafadzwa Mahere.

David Coltart was also less amused by the trip.

"Mnangagwa has demonstrated poor judgment in flying off to Russia and Davos at vast expense to the #Zimbabwean public. The optics, particularly of him flying in a lavish jet, are very poor.

"The reality is, too, that he will come home empty handed given the unrest at home."

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