Zimbabwe now everyone’s punching bag


Zimbabwe, once considered one of the jewels of Africa, has now become everyone’s punching bag. President Mugabe was mobbed by gays during his recent visit to London and this has caused a diplomatic furore.

At home, despite his outspokenness against gays, Herbert Mondhlani, one of the few to go public about his sexual orientation says deep down Mugabe understands their plight and actually tolerates them. He is only publicly criticising them because as a politician he has to toe the line of the majority who are anti-gay.

“Mugabe is our inspiration. His sacrifice during the liberation war is what is inspiring us to fight for our cause,” Mondhlani was quoted as saying.

It should not be difficult to prove if Mugabe is really tolerant. Mondhlani is the public relations officer of the University of Zimbabwe where Mugabe is chancellor. So if he keeps his job, Mugabe is tolerant.

As if this was not enough, it looks every Zimbabwean, especially black, going to Britain is now considered an economic refugee. Because of the depreciation, or is it a collapse, of the Zimbabwe dollar, even domestic workers in the UK now earn more than company managers.

To make matters worse, one Zimbabwean diplomat is being recalled for doing jobs not compatible with her status after she was discovered to be doing menial jobs, after hours, which did not require work permits, to supplement her income.

Fortunately, she was not in the UK but in the land down under. And Air Zimbabwe which is just recovering from a false story in which a pilot was reported to have broken into the cockpit after locking himself out got another jab.

For some reason it was mentioned in the Egyptair crash in which more than 200 people died when it plunged into the Atlantic. Why the airline was dragged into the accident baffles the mind.

First of all, its accidents happened more than 20 years ago. In both cases, the planes were shot down during the liberation war.

The planes involved were not Boeings. Although Air Zimbabwe has two 767s they have not been involved in any accidents.

While politicians may not like this spate of bad publicity, it clearly indicates how important this small southern African nation really is. After all, it is currently the best emerging market.

So investors are keeping a keen eye on it.


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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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