Thursday, February 11, 2010

rich vs poor in Zimbabwe

from BBC:

Video at link.
from the transcript:

"The inclusive government has bought peace and there is food in the shops," Julius, a 35-year-old teacher said. "Anytime you get a dollar, you can rest assured that you will find something to buy."
The problem is getting a dollar. Teachers like Julius will mark the anniversary by going on strike this week.
He said he welcomes the fact that the coalition government has restored peace to the country, but complained that he still cannot feed his family....

Back in Harare I found Paul Mangwana, Zanu PF's constitutional expert, at his legal practice putting finishing touches to what his party believe should be the shape of the new constitution - to put the power firmly in the hands of the one executive authority because of Zimbabwe's wealth.

Mr Mugabe's nephew Philip Chiyangwa has fared well in Zimbabwe
"We have a rich inheritance - nickel, platinum, diamonds - every mineral known in the world," he said. "We need to concentrate power in one, strong individual to safeguard those resources and protect them from being taken by foreigners."
Indigenisation is the key to the Zanu PF political philosophy, a philosophy which would appear to exclude white Zimbabweans.
Four thousand white commercial farmers have now had their farms confiscated and given to supporters of Mr Mugabe.
A diamond mine has been taken from its white Zimbabwean owner and is being operated by a government-owned company, protected by soldiers.
From 1 March, any company operating in Zimbabwe must ensure that the majority of shareholders are indigenous Zimbabweans.
Luxury lifestyle
My "minder" at the Ministry of Information was very keen that I should meet someone he believes is a model of a successful businessman in Zimbabwe today.
Philip Chiyangwa, Mr Mugabe's nephew, bought several companies at a time when high inflation, price controls and shrinking demand made it difficult for them to operate in Zimbabwe.
Now a millionaire, he displays the full list in his "Native Investments" portfolio on full-length wall charts.
It encompasses everything from luxury hotels, foodstuffs to the window frame company he says he bought from Roland "Tiny" Rowlands....

Mr Chiyangwa invited me to visit the 35-room mansion where his wife, Elizabeth, showed me around the family car collection - her husband's Rolls Royce and Bentley, her Mercedes and their daughter's sports cars.
I asked her whether she feels comfortable with such wealth when people in her country are starving.
"It is a gift from God," she replied, "it is a blessing from God. I know people are hungry and we are very grateful for what has been done for us".
As Julius puts his children to bed that night, after another meal of potatoes, he could be forgiven for wondering whether it is not his turn, and the turn of millions like him in Zimbabwe, to receive such gifts and blessings.

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