There was no chance that mummy and daddy could leave him home alone, unattended. Also travelling at the expense of the taxpayers were presidential spokesman George Charamba, tourism minister, Walter Mzembi and a coterie of sycophants. Ahead of Mugabe’s trip to China, there had been rumours of a multi-billion bailout package.
Charamba had earlier denied that the president had gone on a begging trip, but China’s parting gift to Zimbabwe underscored the beggar-and-benefactor relationship. Rather than the anticipated cart-full of Chinese Yuan, Mugabe’s ‘fair weather friend’ donated a measly $24M and loads of rice. And it was not even Tastic! Mugabe and his posse must have felt like poor cousins, returning home from a brief stay with their rich aunt, carrying a sack full of hand-me-down clothes given up their well-off cousins.
$24M is a lot of money but is barely enough to keep the lights on for a week. China was never going to be the sugar daddy to fork out $27B required for ZimAsset, bearing in mind that the Eastern super power has investments totalling $21B in the entire African continent.