FORMERLY RHODESIA THE BREADBASKET OF AFRICA…IS NOW ZIMBABWE A BASKETCASE OF FAMINE AND POVERTY. TYRANT MUGABE WAS HAILED AS THE POSTER CHILD OF ONE MAN, ONE VOTE MOVEMENT IN AFRICA….RSK
Only Mugabe and his friends benefit from Zimbabwe’s diamond wealth
Stellenbosch, South Africa — Superficially, Zimbabwe is in much better shape than it was just a few years ago. Hotels are full of foreign businessmen, and luxury vehicles seem ubiquitous in the capital, Harare. Henry Ncube, a local street cleaner, has never seen as many new cars. But Mr. Ncube, 33 and married with two children, is not happy: “I only have this job part time, things are only a bit better for my family [since 2008] and I still can’t afford school” (for my children).
Mr. Ncube has reason for pessimism. Zimbabwe’s growth is being fueled almost entirely by the diamond trade, which benefits only the political elite and their friends. Zimbabwe, which has had all sorts of political problems over the past three decades, is now also succumbing to the resource curse too.
It is important to put things into perspective. In 2008, the economy was in tatters, neither rule of law nor stable money existed, and violence was to be found in every politically sensitive constituency. After ruling party ZANU-PF and its leader, Robert Mugabe, had lost and stolen yet another election, the future looked dire. But, in early 2009, ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC party signed a power sharing deal. Inflation was controlled by dollarizing the economy, and, with one of the world’s largest diamond finds in the east of the country, the possibilities looked bright.