PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has left his usual Singapore holiday retreat for China, his deputy confirmed Tuesday.

Mugabe left Harare last month for his annual holiday in the Far East, leaving civil servants unpaid ahead of the Christmas holiday and Zimbabweans struggling in bank queues due to cash shortages.

Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the soon-to-be 93-year-old leader was now in China.

Mnangagwa revealed that he had struggled to reach his boss over the hero status of former Mashonaland West provincial governor Peter Chanesta who died earlier this week.

“I tried talking to the President this morning and will talk to him again later today (Tuesday). He is in China.

“I saw in the papers that the province is requesting something and we will pass on the message to our leader who will give us guidance,” Mnangagwa told mourners gathered at Chanetsa’s home in Harare’s Borrowdale area.

┬áRivals have since condemned Mugabe for choosing to go abroad on holiday at a time the country’s in the throes of a deepening economic crisis.

Said former State vice president Joice Mujuru: “How can someone afford to be on holiday in the Far East in times like this?

“Civil servants were not paid. The few who were fortunate to have been paid spent all their time in bank queues to access bond notes on empty stomachs.

“Those in the rural areas could not come to town and those in town could not go to the rural areas.

“In short, there was nothing merry about this Christmas all because of Zanu PF’s inexcusable failure.