Yet the dire numbers did not stop President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, throwing a party for the great and the well-fed of his government and ruling Zanu PF party at State House on Monday.
Mugabe told his colleagues that they deserved a celebratory bash for ensuring the suffering masses did not revolt despite their abject misery.
â€œWe succeeded in convincing our people to stand by us and accept these challenges as challenges to our nation together,â€ he said.
The shindig was not for struggling pensioners who have not been paid by his government; or some of the thousands of street kids roaming the streets of the capital.
Mugabe called up ministers from his much-changed cabinet which critics say has failed to stem the countryâ€™s economic slide since the 2013 elections.
They were joined by members of the Zanu PF politburo and leaders from the ruling partyâ€™s provincial executives.
What were they celebrating?
Two major events, in President Robert Mugabeâ€™s own words, merited a grand party.
These were Zanu PFâ€™s annual conference at the Victoria Falls resort and, before that, the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Said the 91-year-old: â€œWe thought rather belatedly that the year,
â€œ â€¦ which was so challenging, with quite a number of outstanding events which included a visit by the President of China (Xi Jinping) and also lastly the National Peopleâ€™s Conference that we held in Victoria Falls,
â€œâ€¦ we concluded that all those events really must give us at least something, something we can say is a party that recognises that we have perfectly gone through the year and surmounted the challenges, many of them that faced us and others we continue to challenge.â€
He added: â€œA year like that needed to be celebrated, celebrated by us because of the resilience we showed.
â€œWe felt that a little reception at the end of December might perhaps wipe off our tears at the end and that encourages us, so we can face the New Year with new determination derived from the old. We thought well, a small thing be attended by a group of those who we would call the leaders of the country will do.
â€œThat is why you are here.â€
Such a gesture by the â€œcaringâ€ Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces as well as Zanu PF First Secretary and State President deserved appropriate praise.
Cue praise chanter vice president Phelekezela Mphoko;
â€œWe are very proud to be led by you, Sir,â€ he said.
â€œI can vouch for all ambassadors that we are not ashamed of representing you.
â€œSir, you have directed the party par excellence, you have directed the Government par excellence, you have directed Sadc par excellence and you are directing the African Union par excellence!â€Post published in: Featured