Grading Mugabe – 2 years in office

This month is the end of the second year of President Robert Mugabe’s 7th term in office. Ahead of the July 2013 election, Zanu (PF) made several promises to the electorate. We assess Mugabe’s progress since then.

Health sector

Under ZimAsset, we were promised a total of 300 new clinics. So far, none have been built. In 2014, government doctors went on a three-week strike, demanding increments on their $282 basic pay. A nurses’ strike followed in 2015.

The majority of Zimbabweans (76%) live on less than $200 a month. Private GPs charge $35. Paediatricians demand $120. For the impoverished majority, a government hospital strike can mean death.

Score: Out of 10, Mugabe receives a very generous 2.

Water & sewerage

Several urban areas have no running water. Many residents of Zimbabwe’s townships congregate at Unicef’s communal boreholes. Clearly we have regressed, since 1979, when communal boreholes only occurred in the countryside.

In rural areas, many citizens travel over five kilometres for a bucket of water. In such circumstances, hygiene becomes a luxury. The water situation is so dire that the likes of Jonathan Moyo bribed voters with boreholes, in the June by-elections, in drought-stricken constituencies.

VP Munangagwa thinks the water shortage is somehow the fault of Rhodesians.

‘I am aware of the loss of lives to waterborne diseases. Provision of water should then remain a priority for the government…. Zimbabwe still has gaps that we inherited from the skewered system from former colonial masters,’ said Mnangagwa.

We get it. The Rhodesian government was evil. But how many dams has Robert Mugabe constructed? And who is pumping sewerage into Lake Chivero? Whoever it is, it’s not Ian Smith.

Score: 1 out of 10.


Electricity supply has been erratic since 2000. To augment power generated locally, Zimbabwe imports electricity from other Sadc countries. In the Zim dollar era, government’s excuse was ‘foreign currency shortages.’ We pay Zesa bills in forex, but power cuts are far worse. Money paid to Zesa by consumers is looted, obviously.

The reason for power shortages is simple – incompetence. Constructing power plants costs money. Zimbabwe has a bad credit rating, owing to unpaid loans.

Zimbabwe receives 300 days of sunshine per year. But among the many fake PhDs, ex guerrilla prison graduates and psychomotor ministers, none of Mugabe’s minions has come up with a solution to harness the free sun rays.

Mugabe’s score, 1 out of 10


Zimbabwe has the highest literacy level in Africa (+90%). But literacy is defined only as the ability to read and write. The quality of education in Zimbabwe is on the decline. Underpaid school teachers no longer put in an honest shift, preferring to make their money through extra lessons. The persistent power shortages have not helped – humans don’t have night vision. The result is an appalling O level pass rate – 22,38% in 2014.

BEAM, an initiative funded by donors, to educate underprivileged school children, has gone bust. Mugabe’s own scholarship fund is broke. Government has defaulted on payment of school fees for the children of war veterans since 2014. In government schools, corruption is rife and exam paper leaks are as common as coal in Hwange. The reputation of the University of Zimbabwe was wrecked after Grace Mugabe contrived a two-month PhD.

Out of 10, Mugabe scores half.

Economy & employment

Since 2000, Zimbabwe’s industry has been in rapid decline. Pre-dollarization, economists estimated that industry was operating at 30% capacity. Since then, several companies have shut down and those that remain have scaled down operations in response to the liquidity crunch.

At the peak of Zimbabwe’s beef production, 600,000 cattle were slaughtered annually. In 2015, only 97,000 cattle have been slaughtered and, of that amount, state owned abattoir CSC accounts for just 5,600 animals. In 2014, only 284,000 animals were slaughtered.

CSC boss – the aptly named Ngoni Chinogaramombe (the one who sits on the ox)– attributes the drop in beef production to souring of relations with the West.

‘Zimbabwe has not been exporting beef to Europe and this has affected production. When we were exporting to Europe we could attract funding,’ said Chinogaramombe.

Global mining giant, Rio Tinto, has pulled out of Zimbabwe, setting off alarm bells to potential investors. Foreign direct investment for 2014 was $545million, compared to Mozambique’s $4,9Billion and South Africa $5,7Billion for the same period.

The only good news is the reopening of David Whitehead Textiles – once the backbone of Chegutu and Kadoma, but now has only 200 employees. Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, concedes that 4,610 companies closed between 2011 and 2014. Annually Zimbabwe’s 13 universities generate 10,000 graduates.

The reopening of David Whitehead is a drop in the ocean. To get an understanding of Zimbabwe’s +80% unemployment rate, one only has to look at the streets, where vendors outnumber the rest of the population.

President Mugabe promised to create 440,000 jobs per year. What lies!

Out of 10, Mugabe scores 0.

Rule of law

Of 390 laws that need to be realigned with the new constitution, only 158 have been brought before parliament. Mugabe’s right hand man, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also Justice Minister, is not in any hurry to normalise the country’s laws because the old laws serve Zanu (PF)’s interests. The Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) is of the same opinion.

‘’The continued delay in the alignment of laws and establishment of the Provincial Councils is deliberate. The national institutions proposed in chapter 12 of the constitution should be established expeditiously to promote democracy,’ reads a statement by CCDZ.

Mugabe will not establish independent commissions such as the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, out of fear that political heavyweights might find themselves under investigation.

Mugabe’s Prosecutor General, Johannes Tomana, believes it is cool for 12-year-olds to engage in sexual activity. And he is the country’s top lawyer.

Since stealing the 2013 vote, Mugabe’s government has been consistent in its abuse of human rights. Several journalists have been imprisoned or detained on trumped up charges. In August 2014, photo journalist Angela Jimu was severely beaten by police while covering an MDC rally. On 9 March 2015, Mugabe’s security agents abducted activist Itai Dzamara. He has been missing since.

Last week, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights issued a statement, reading, ‘So traumatising is the painful reality that the government and all the powerful state security organs cannot account for the whereabouts of Dzamara, almost 4 months after he disappeared.’

It certainly says a lot that Mugabe’s government has refused to sign the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Out of 10, Mugabe scores -5.


There is not much to say that has not already been said about Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector; from ‘bread basket’ to basket case. Zimbabwe needs to import 1,2million tonnes of maize to avert starvation. In 2014, at least 44% of Zimbabweans skipped a meal due to lack of money. Mugabe himself admits that the land reform is a monumental flop.

Your score, Mr President; pick any number, as long as it is below zero. – Till next week, my pen is capped, Jerà – Twitter: @JeraZW

Facebook: Jerà The-Writer

Post published in: Analysis

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