Grace ring fiasco: What $1.4 m can buy

Imagine what $1.4 million would do to help Zimbabwe’s struggling economy?
This is the amount of money Grace Mugabe used to buy a wedding ring on her  20th anniversary with President Robert Mugabe.

Source: Grace ring fiasco: What $1.4 m can buy – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 11, 2017

Despite the source of the money not being verified, Grace, as wife to a public figure and a member of the First family, is subject to public scrutiny on her spending especially at a time when the Mugabe government is faced with allegations of massive looting and abuse of state resources.

Read more about the diamond ring saga here

To make a comparison, we publish below what $1.4 million could do:

In his 2017 Budget presentation, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa allocated the following amounts to various sectors and here we look at allocations that are up to $1.4 million


Capitalisation of NATPHARM–US$1 million

The National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (Natpharm) is a state entity responsible for the procurement of drugs and other pharmaceuticals for public hospitals and clinics and with the shortage of drugs and other resources in hospitals, the parastatal is in dire need of recapitalisation and the amount Grace spent on a ring, was just enough to meet that need.


:Teacher capacity development–US$1 million
:Operational support to tertiary institutions–US$1.5 million
Either of these two sectors, teacher capacity development, which got $1m, or Operational support to tertiary institutions, could have benefitted, had Grace – as the ‘mother of the nation’decided to give the ring money to the struggling government her husband leads.


:Health Assistance–US$1 million
: Labour Administration–US$1.3 million
Social services is one of the critical sectors of the country, and its labour adminstration allocation of $1.3m in the 2017 budget could have been covered with some change, from the ring money. The money could also have been alternatively allocated to health assistance of the social services.


Rural Electrication–US$1 million
A $300k change – enough for a very good ring- would have remained!

  • Far from the budget items, $1.4 million, is just about a quarter of the $6 million CAPS holdings, the largest pharmaceutical company needs to recapitalise and it would have been helpful to the company’s cause.
  • With government workers’ salaries pegged at an average of $300 per month, $1.4 million is enough to pay about 4.660 civil servants.
  • With the monthly family basked pegged at about $571, $1.4m will afford monthly groceries for up to 2451 families
  •  $1.4 could have gone a long way in patching up (at least for now) the dangerous Mavingo highway. This could have saved lives.

Let’s share what you could have done with $1.4m to improve Zimbabwe.



  • comment-avatar

    A president leading a financially broke nation can manage to serve $1.3 million to by his wife an anniversary ring. Very interesting. What a caring First Family. Long live Mr & Mrs President!!!!. You love us so much that we will forever love you too. Yes, we love you for showing us love & care by buying your beautiful wife a $1.4 million worth ring. Yes, we admire you for that, though we are dying due lack of funding of the country’s healthcare system. Yes, even as your government can not afford to pay our public servants, including our doctors & nurses, teachers, etc.. we still love it. Yes, we all continue to love you so much that come to 2018 you will get 100% of our vote even if you contest with the most beloved donkey from Tsholotsho. Yes, there are many wonderful donkeys in Tsholotsho which can actually win an election against some less-love sitting presidents. But, such donkeys will not win against you Mr president – we love you for uplifting our great nation. Yes, you will forever be a good example of how to run & ruin a country. And yes, we love you for that; hence we agree with your wife that should you die anytime soon then your ghost should take over as our president. Yes, we all want you to rule us from your gave, as your dear expensive wife rightly said; or better still rule us from hell. Yes, we know there are 100% chances that you will straight away go to hell whenever you will decide to leave mother earth. But, yes we wouldn’t mind you continuing to rule from there & I am sure you have capacity to do that our life- and death-president.