Well – that’s a surprise… not.
Bob, as Robert Mugabe is “affectionately” known, has run Zimbabwe like his own personal fiefdom. His family’s lavish shopping trips to Harrods are well-known while at home in Zimbabwe people starved. We had stopped booking Air Zimbabwe long ago because of the unpredictability of the flights. Schedules were ignored when the plane was required for the President or Mrs. and passengers would be left stranded. So all those ex-Zim residents who return yearly to visit friends and family would go the route of flying into Johannesburg and then flying into Zimbabwe on South African Airways or BA.
Even then it is not that easy as there is always that issue of “the visa”. Mmmm, how much will they charge this time. Explaining this to clients planning a trip to Vic Falls is tricky. The visa could be $50 US or it could be $75 US – but really it could depend on the mood of the officer on duty. I try to explain it away with the reminder that “well – this is Africa you know”.
It was inevitable that something would happen to Air Zimbabwe after having had one of its planes impounded in London due to unpaid debts. This is the reason they stopped flying into South Africa because of the threat of having another aircraft impounded. By the end of last year its pilots had had enough and walked off the job. Why? Well it wasn’t about pensions, benefits or how much they were being paid. It was simply because they weren’t being paid at all.