President Mnangagwa kicked off the new year by travelling to Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in an effort to raise investment for his economically blighted nation.
“I can’t say that we want this much or that much,” President Mnangagwa said in an interview with the state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti published Tuesday before a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
South Africa treasury now reveals that the Zimbabwean president was turned down when he came to South Africa last month and asked for $1.2 billion.
He next sought and failed to get a loan from Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, before returning home on Tuesday from the ‘wild goose chase trip’ that cost $23 million in private jet fees alone, Freight and Trading Weekly, a Johannesburg transportation industry publication, reported.
The Kremlin’s announcement of the Putin-Mnangagwa talks made no mention of loans but Moscow has in the past been reluctant to bail out struggling allies, although Russia has in recent years been actively rebuilding its ties in Africa.
Earlier this month, President Mnangagwa announced a steep increase in the fuel price in an effort to tackle fuel shortages.
Mnangagwa’s decision to raise the cost of gasoline at a time when prices are rising at their fastest pace since a hyperinflationary spiral a decade ago, meaning that Zimbabwe now has the most expensive fuel in the world, according to GlobalPetrolPrice.
The price hike immediately sparked off countrywide protests.
Many Zimbabweans, worn down by years of economic hardship, have suddenly found they cannot even afford the bus fare to work.
At least 12 people have so far been killed and 78 other treated for gunshot injuries, according to Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO forum.
The rights group also says that over 240 people have been treated after being assaulted or tortured, while the opposition says government forces have attacked people in their homes.
The government blocked Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp messaging apps last week, until a high court ordered it to restore access.