Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has recently received a new presidential jet, a Dassault Falcon 7X worth US$54 million. The jet, with the registration P4-SIM, was delivered in March but has not been used until this week. The aircraft appears to be brand new, and its first recorded flight was from Paris, France, to Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 1, according to tracking service FlightRadar24.
The President made use of the aircraft for the first time on Wednesday when he flew to Victoria Falls to host the Transform Africa Summit, where he was joined by four other African leaders. On Friday, he flew on the same plane to Bulawayo for the official opening of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).
Sources reveal that the plane arrived at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport before it was flown to the Air Force of Zimbabwe’s Manyame Airbase, where it is currently being kept. The President is said to have also authorized the purchase of four “VIP transport helicopters”.
While some Zimbabweans have expressed outrage over the acquisition of the aircraft, the government defended the move, stating that it will be used to facilitate the President’s travels on state business. Nonetheless, the purchase of such an expensive aircraft at a time when the country is facing economic challenges has led to widespread criticism from citizens and opposition parties.