The noose tightens: Vigil

With Mugabe’s return from his latest Asian holiday he will be able to celebrate his 90th birthday in some style. His office has been allocated $206 million in Chinamasa’s budget – nearly six times as much as he was given last year by Gono’s stingy lawyer Tendai Biti, when he had to restrict his foreign shopping trips to less than one a month.

$200 million or so should cover his travel costs this year – after all it is more than the combined allocations for:

• The Ministry of Industry and Commerce – $7.4 million

• The Ministry of Energy and Power Development – £23.4 million

• The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development – $8.6 million

• The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development – $155.2 million

The Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha says his $7.4 million will pay for the day-to-day running of his ministry but not allow him to do anything. The Vigil thought that Zanu (PF) promised at the elections to revive industry, particularly in Bulawayo. And, for that matter, agriculture and energy as well . . .

It must have come as sad news to Chinamasa that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have turned down his appeal for money to keep bankrupt Zimbabwe afloat. But he can always look East. For the starving millions in the rural areas, however, it is even sadder news that the World Food Programme has failed to meet its fundraising target for Zimbabwe. But judging by their miserly response to the plight of the Philippines after their devastating typhoon, the Vigil doubts that any appeal for Chinese help will be productive. Perhaps the starving should look instead to Mugabe’s $200 million of government money. But they shouldn’t hold their breath – if indeed they have any left.

Post published in: Africa News

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