Close to 20 security details, his own son, a cook, a waiter, a flashy pastor, plus dozens of government aides. All these were part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 129-strong delegation to COP26 in Glasgow last week.
A total of 39,509 people from countries around the world registered for Glasgow.
The climate summit’s organisers released lists of all delegations to the climate summit. This is what we know about the Zimbabwe delegation.
Mnangagwa took with him three ministers: Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, Foreign Affairs Minister Frederick Shava and Environment and Tourism’s Nqobizitha Ndlovu. There are also at least six names listed as personal assistants to the ministers and other senior officials on the trip. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a large representation, with at least 20 delegates, among them ambassadors and other bureaucrats.
There are 18 names listed as “security” details on the list. There are more officials from the President’s Office, listed variously as “staff officers” or “liaison officers”.
While a delegation of pastors was part of the event, with government PR posting their meetings, only one pastor had been listed on Zimbabwe’s provisional list. That’s Edd Branson, known for his love for flashy cars and frequently in the tabloid press for personal scandal. He is listed as “advisor”. There is also a “PA to the advisor” listed.
Also on the list was a member of the ACT Alliance, an international faith-based NGO that is also involved in climate justice.
In the family
Emmerson Tanaka Mnangagwa, listed as a director of an outfit called Carbcred Africa, made the trip. Others listed as part of Carbcred are Ebrahim Khan and Selestino Chari. While little is available publicly about Carbcred Africa or Khan, Chari is a well-known environmentalist who heads the Harare Wetlands Trust.
According to a schedule of events at COP26, the trio was to attend a seminar by the Glasgow Chamber Mission on November 2-3, focusing on, among other topics, green infrastructure and financing. It was also attended by a separate Zimbabwean delegation from Connect Water Private Limited.
While the focus was on his oversized delegation, Mnangagwa did take with him dozens of climate and environment professionals. Their presence and roles were drowned out by the politics around the trip and the unending tragicomedy that is Government PR.
The experts were drawn from government departments, the Forestry Commission, National Parks, the Environmental Management Authority, and other institutions.
Among the climate scientists and experts was Washington Zhakata, director in the department of climate change in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and Kudakwashe Manyanga, climate change officer in the Ministry of Agriculture. The Agric ministry had at least five officials, including its climate change mitigation scientist Lawrence Mashungu.
Other climate experts included Tirivanhu Muhwati, Tatenda Mutasa, Munashe Mukonoweshuro, Kudzai Ndidzano, George Chaumba, Charity Denhere and others. Solomon Mutambara of the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund, which is jointly supported by government, the EU, UK, Sweden and UNDP, was also listed. A member of the Center for Agriculture and Food Policy, a Zimbabwean think tank, was also part of the list.
Edith Bagambe, Mclay Kanyangarara and Lwembe Mwale of COMESA’s climate change programme were also part of the Zimbabwe delegation.
Also included was Tafadzwa Dhlakama, embedded in government under the Paris Agreement to advise Zimbabwe on meeting its climate change targets.
On the Zimbabwe team was also Rufaro Matsika, a youth climate researcher and campaigner. She represented Africa last year at MockCop26, a platform for youth demanding more action from COP26. Tinashe Mangosho, another young environmentalist, was also listed.
The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, recently accredited by the Green Climate Fund to finance renewables in Zimbabwe, was represented on the delegation by its Climate Finance Manager, Veronica Jakarasi.
Prof. Prosper Matondi, the renowned agric and climate expert who is the National Coordinator of Climate and Environment – he is basically Zimbabwe’s Chief-of-Climate – did not make the trip, having only joined the government in October, but participated virtually.
Energy Secretary Gloria Magombo was part of the delegation. Also there was ZESA boss Sydney Gata and Hamadziripo Nyikayaramba, head of the Rural Electrification Agency, as well as Sosten Ziuku, head of Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy. Energy regulator ZERA had technical director Misheck Siyakatshana.
The President’s delegation also included a cook and a waiter, according to the list.
How did we compare?
In terms of size, how does Zimbabwe compare?
South Africa, led by its Environment Minister, had just 56 delegates. The Zambian delegation was made up of 60 people, less than half the size of Mnangagwa’s entourage.
Angola had 103 on its list, Tanzania 127, Mozambique 76, Namibia 84 and Botswana just over 50.
Then the big delegations; DRC had a massive list of 373 people. Kenya had 310, Uganda 219 while Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera took 138 people along with him.
Brazil has the biggest team with 479 delegates, while Canada had 277. The United States sent 165 delegates and Britain, the hosts, had 231.
The lists provided by COP26 are provisional and there may have been changes to who actually got to travel.