Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Billionaire Feeling

Yesterday, I became a multi-billionaire in one dramatic stroke. I was given twenty billionaire dollars by a friend I made just a few days ago. Shortly after I received the gift, I photographed it and locked it up in my room safe as any billionaire would probably do. Such is the security risk of going about with 20 billion dollars that I felt it was safer to leave it in a safe.

Before anyone begins to have ideas about possible soft loans from my new-found fortune, I should rush to add that these were Zimbabwean dollars. Despite the fact I cannot even pay for a local bus ride with the whole of my new wealth, the feeling of belonging to a select class of humans with several billions in their possession is itself exhilarating!

It is with mixed feelings I state that I owe my being in this special status to the absolute recklessness of President Mugabe and his government. Mugabe had broken the record set by President Mobutu, of blessed memory, who became the first head of state in Africa to make all his countrymen millionaires.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Zimbabwe - A new beginning?

This week has marked a significant turning point in Zimbabwe's turbulent history. The Old Man who will turn 85 next weekend has agreed to share power with Morgan Tsvangirai of the rival MDC - the Movement for Democratic Change. This in itself is an achievement in Zimbabwean terms, yes, this is how badly things have degenerated!
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is a remarkable man by all accounts - a national hero of the Zimbabwean independence struggle turned villain and vicious tyrant. Very few persons in history will be able to match the ability and power to ruin a country to the extent Robert Mugabe has done through sheer stubbornness and power-drunkenness.
The economic facts speak for themselves: Unemployment - over 90%; Inflation -a mind-blowing 231,000,000%; national budget of 66,500,000,000,000,000,000-Zimbabwean dollars (66.5 quintillion) in 2009. These are figures that mock the concept of budgeting. All these digits mean in real terms a measly US$3 000,000, 000. Arithmetic must be a made a compulsory subject for the populace to grasp the meaning of all these zeros in the budget figures.
The general economic situation has become so bad and the human condition in the country so dire that retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa in a recent interview suggested that Robert Mugabe be made to go by all means including forceful removal.

Speaking on the sidelines of the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga suggested that the "dinosaur" 84-year-old should be offered a "golden handshake" to leave office. Mr. Odinga took a swipe at fellow African leaders who lacked the courage to tell Robert Mugabe to leave and said the world should tell him "the time to go is now, we are ready to give you a golden handshake if you will quit".

So this week, Zimbabwe has made a transition from a despotic monarchy to the semblance of a democratic government. The MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai is now Prime Minister at last. Mr. Tsvangirai and his MDC colleagues must not fail the Zimbabwean people by becoming complacent in the corridors of power. The whole world is watching anxiously and intently. There is a lot of international goodwill which must not be squandered. The humiliated Zimbabwean people do not have time to waste. For many faced with cholera and relentless famine, delay means death. Tendai Biti the new Finance Minister has one of the greatest challenges a politician has ever faced. Turning the current tide to make Zimbabwe habitable will be an act of faith, but then miracles are performed by men of faith. The road ahead is littered with all kinds of booby traps.

Already Morgan Tsvangirai's view of Mugabe has changed just two days after becoming Prime Minister. Hear him: "world needs to get over Robert Mugabe". We hope he is not being infected by the virulent bug that has changed the mindset of Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

As we wait for Robert Mugabe to celebrate his next birthday I can not help reliving this dream I had a few weeks ago that the Old Man finally let go his iron grip on Zimbabwe on his 85th birthday, Saturday February 21 2009. Yes, he retired so that new hands can rescue and steer the ship he has so thoughtlessly run aground. Am I being clairvoyant or was it wishful dreaming? Can that be the coolest gift Zimbabwe ever received?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Reflections of The 2009 Australian Open - Federer's Grief

The pictures tell the story.