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Mliswa tells Gumbo invest in ZISCO not Air Zimbabwe

Air Zimbabwe must not be politicised. It is the national airline. If there is the only client that they have that pays them is His Excellency when he does charter, outside that there is nobody. They cannot compare with South African Airways and many other airlines. We do have airlines already in this country that are serving the very same destinations which Air Zimbabwe is serving at a better cost. Do we really need to invest in an airline? No, we do not need to invest in an airline. This is something that I thought the Minister would look at.

The aspect of investor confidence is key and that has to do with corporate governance at the end of the day. That is where the issue is. There is no corporate governance at Air Zimbabwe. Ministers who are  politicians at the helm of Government are directly involved. What guarantee do we have…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Can you withdraw the statement “so-called politicians”?

HON. MLISWA: I will withdraw but I do not think I said so-called politicians. I said at the helm. I withdraw the word “so-called”.

You also have a situation where corporate governance touches on nepotism. Nepotism does not attract investment. It is not professional in its nature. How is he going to circumvent that to attract the investment that is much needed for an airline which is known to be thriving on nepotism? You have got strategic partners that want to come through but these strategic partners have always been there. I am aware of certain airline companies that have said listen, we will take on this route. He also proposed that Government will buy a new fleet. If these strategic partners are coming in, what are they coming in to do because certainly we have no money but Government is still suggesting that they are going to buy new airlines? So, what is the role of the strategic partners in this?

I know very well that Ethiopian Airlines have said they want to do the London route but Air Zimbabwe hangs on to that and yet they do not have a plane. He was talking about how dilapidated their planes are but they still hang on to the route. Why would you hang on to the route rather than allowing such a strategic partner to come in and do the route? These are some of the issues which I think strategic partners must come in and address.

To summarise, I think it is important that we deal with low hanging fruits. Air Zimbabwe is not a low hanging fruit. There are more entities in this country – agriculture for example, which I believe if fertilizer was made cheaper for the farmers and well planned, we would produce more. We would not spend a lot of money having to import. Air Zimbabwe can be set aside and the nation can still go ahead and we can deal with Air Zimbabwe at some other point. I thank you.

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