Day By Day

Friday, October 21, 2005

Zimbabwe Update -- All In the Family

SWradioafrica reports:

Robert Mugabe’s nephew Leo Mugabe was arrested Tuesday on allegations of smuggling scarce flour to neighbouring Mozambique. The Makonde North legislator exported 600 bags of flour worth a staggering Z$500 billion (US$7m). With the country having to endure chronic bread shortages, questions are being asked on how he managed to get 30 tonnes of a controlled product across the border.

The charge sheet makes reference to ‘illegal exportation’ and leaves room for an alternative charge of ‘dealing in controlled products’. According to former Grain Marketing Board general manager, Renson Gasela, the possibility exists Mugabe sold flour from a wheat farm he took in Mhangura. That however also remains illegal under Zimbabwean law. Mugabe is well known in the country as an incompetent football administrator and allegedly defrauded the football association which he led. This resulted in his expulsion but unsurprisingly he was never arrested.

The scandals do not end there. The construction of the Harare International Airport was mired in controversy after a company linked to Mugabe won the tender to construct, in 2001. An unholy trio comprising Leo, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s youngest son Kojo and Hani Yamani the son of a powerful Sheikh got into business together.

He sounds like a real chip off the old block.

Read it here.

As for the old man – here’s a compendium of assessments from people who are in a position to know.

There was a time when Mugabe's credentials as a fighter against white-minority rule earned him respect. That time is long gone. He is a millstone around the neck of one of Africa's best endowed lands. Who says so? The South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has said Mugabe is a "caricature of an African dictator"; Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, who has called on Mugabe to stop "fighting colonialist ghosts"; the Nobel-Prize-winning writer Wole Soyinka, who has labeled Mugabe's regime "a disgrace to the continent."

Read it here.

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