Tsvangirai stays home to save money, Mugabe heading for Copenhagen

President Robert Mugabe would, however, attend the conference, along with a 59-member delegation, according to the officials. He is due to depart for Copenhagen on Monday.

Tsvangirai’s spokesman, James Maridadi, said the prime minister’s decision to stay was "informed by revelations of a blotted Zimbabwe government foreign travel budget by Finance Minister Tendai Biti in his recent budget statement."

According to Biti, the government spent in the region of 28 million US dollars on foreign trips through November.

Zimbabwe media reports said most of the money had been spent on Mugabe and his large delegations. The president has made at least seven foreign trips since he and Tsvangirai formed a government of national unity in February.

President Mugabe has taken at least seven foreign trips since the inception of the Government of National Unity. Some of the countries he has visited include Italy for the UN World Summit on Food Security, Mozambique for the Sadc Troika meeting and South Africa for the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma.

He has also visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the Sadc summit, Egypt and Libya as well as Switzerland for the International Telecommunications Union Summit.

Apart from the cost government incurs paying for the transport for such large delegations, there are also allowances which are paid out each member of the entourage.

Any delegate travelling on government business is entitled to daily allowances which are based on their level or grade.