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Vol 55 No 7

Published 4th April 2014


Snakes on a plane

The latest crisis at Air Zimbabwe is mainly about politics, particularly the battle between the two factions competing for the succession

The factions supporting the two main contenders to succeed President Robert MugabeJoice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa – are fighting for control of the state airline, compounding its problems of poor service and corporate debts. The new Transport Minister Obert Mpofu, the former Mines Minister who is a close ally of Mnangagwa, has been investigating several of the airline’s leasing contracts that he deems ruinously over-priced. Last month, Mpofu terminated the lease of its Embraer aircraft but remains stuck with a more costly Airbus deal involving the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). Air Zimbabwe has been paying at least US$600,000 monthly for the lease of the 50-seater Embraer ERJ 145 LR jet and two Airbus A320s, both currently grounded.

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