Mugabe – the billion-dollar industry that will collapse in two weeks


Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Robert Mugabe is a billion dollar industry. If Mugabe Inc. were listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, it would be the biggest company on the local bourse, if all the money that was diverted from the government and poured into the country through non-governmental organisations was its market capitalisation.

Some US$2.6 billion, meant for development projects in Zimbabwe, was poured into civil society over the past four years because donors insisted that they did not want their money to go through the government even though Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general, Tendai Biti, was the Minister of Finance.

The market capitalisation of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange stood at US$6.2 billion yesterday. The biggest cap was Delta with a market cap of US$1.8 billion followed by Econet with US$1.1 billion.

Mugabe Inc. is likely to collapse after the 31 July elections regardless of who wins. Its demise will be faster if the Movement for Democratic Change wins the elections as all the money will be channelled through the government. Most of the NGOs will also have no reason to exist.

The aid industry is currently sustaining about 3 000 non-governmental organisations, which means that there are more NGOs to Zimbabweans than there are doctors to patients. The ratio is one NGO for every 4 325 Zimbabweans but there is one doctor to every 6 250 patients.

A simple calculation shows that if the money given to NGOs had been given directly to individuals every Zimbabwean, including a one-day old baby, would have walked away with US$200.40.

A Mugabe victory might prolong the lives of some NGOs but not for long. While the West might want to sustain them as they will have battles still to fight like human riots violations, stolen election, lack of rule of law, Mugabe will close most of them.

His party clearly says so in its manifesto. “An obvious and unacceptable threat to the goals of the people is posed by the NGOs that roam the country to peddle influence and whose number of more than 3 000 is scandalously disproportionate to the country’s population,” the manifesto says.

“Virtually all of these NGOs have been founded and funded by the same countries that have imposed illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe for purposes of effecting illegal regime change outside the constitutional and democratic processes.

“Particularly egregious in this regard is the fact that over the last four years during the life of the GPA government, some US$2.6 billion has been poured into these NGOs to support nefarious activities that have been camouflaged by the sanitised language of humanitarian and developmental assistance to cover up sinister regime-change intentions. The US$2.6 billion has been disbursed via opaque parallel budget channels that are not accountable and which have been used to damage national accounts and Treasury processes.”

Mugabe is bitter. He says sanctions have cost Zimbabwe US$42 billion for the past 12 years. This is six times the country’s gross domestic product.

Besides donor fatigue is creeping in. The economies of most Western countries are in shambles. The signal from the European Union- clearly stating the obvious- that if African observers declare the elections free and fair- it will recognise them is clear testimony that Europe is either tired, has run out of cash, or desperately wants to come back to Zimbabwe because it is losing out on investments.

So, the end is nigh regardless of who wins.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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