7 May 2017
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s claims that the Zimbabwean economy is
“only second to South Africa (SA)’s” is the kind of nonsense only dodos or
the worst of his sycophantic supporters in his beleaguered Zanu PF can
swallow and believe.
For many right-thinking people, the elderly ruler’s speech at the World
Economic Forum (Wef) in Durban last week must have come not only as an
insult, but a shock given the overwhelming evidence of his ruinous
From the endemic corruption to rampant unemployment and decaying
infrastructure, the demise of the Zimbabwean economy – at one time
considered the jewel of Africa – has been largely attributed to Mugabe and
Zanu PF’s misrule over the past 37 years.
The country of course has abundant mineral resources, but his stewardship
of those natural endowments is also a matter of public record that is yet
to be fully established for future benefit of how not to run an economy.
Given Mugabe’s own disclosures that his government had failed to account
for $15 billion worth of diamonds, the current cash shortages and broken
social services, it would be an understatement to call Zimbabwe’s
situation dire – but a pure failed state, which the Wef tried to unpack
And for Mugabe to come up with such inane propaganda – on the world stage
– it is not only embarrassing, but the kind of denialism, which also comes
across as another slap in the face for his long-suffering countrymen.
Instead of using such powerful platforms to canvass for investments in key
entities, Mugabe chose to indulge in delusional grandeur, which does not
in any way improve our lot.
Following the controversial 2013 elections, hundreds of firms have closed
due to self-created and unending economic problems such as the current
People are crowded in areas smarting from fetid odours of uncollected
garbage and burst sewers while shortages of basic drugs blight public
hospitals and local authorities are failing to guarantee potable water for
The cash crisis, which is worsening by the day and despite the
introduction of the so-called bond notes, is haunting people through
perennial queues at banks -reminding them of the horrific hyperinflation
of 2008-9 era.
On the other hand, the paradox of the 93-year-old’s statement cannot be
missed, especially when one looks at the Africa Wealth Report 2017 in
which an AfrAsia survey ranks Zimbabweans among the poorest on the
continent with an average wealth of $200 per person.
In many ways than one, Mugabe has presided over the pauperisation of
Zimbabweans – some who lost life savings when the country dumped its own
currency, adopting the multi-currency system in 2009.
While there is no way the Zanu PF leader can turn back the hands of time
and reverse such disastrous policies as his seizure of white-owned farms,
failing roads and rail infrastructure, he must watch his words.
Alternatively, he must just shut up than risk to demean the least of what
is left of the nation’s pride and image!