Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bobby Mugabe has got it goin' on!

Zimbabwe currently has an annualized inflation rate of between 4,000 and 10,000 percent. The IMF is forecasting 100,000% inflation for next year. Now, I am not meaning to insult anyone's intelligence but this of course means that all prices in the economy will be going up very very fast and everyone will complain that prices are going up faster than their incomes.

Bobby M, who has singlehandedly created this situation has also proposed its cure: cutting many retail prices in half and freezing them at that level by law. Beautiful, no?

Except of course, now stores are pretty much 100% empty, and it seems when government inspectors do find merchandise and enforce the bargain pricing, it is government employees and military personnel who somehow find themselves in the front of the line. The Economist reports this week that roughly one third of the population has fled the country!

Mugabe, now 83 years young, has been the head of state in Zimbabwe for over 27 years; the exact same length of time that Zimbabwe has been an independent country. My sincere hope for Africa is that he is the last "president for life" an august group that included Daniel Arap Moi in Kenya (1978-2002) , Julius Nyerere in Tanzania (1964-1985), Mobutu in Zaire/Congo, (1965-1997), and Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Ivory Coast (1960-1993).


random african said...

last "president for life" ?
what about these guys:

Biya (1982-present) cameroon
Museveni (1986-present) uganda
Dos Santos (1979-presnt) angola
Sassou-Nguesso (1979-1992 and 1997-present) congo
Conte (1984-present) guinea
Compaoré (1987-present) burkina-faso
Obiang Nguema (1979-present) equatorial guinea
Ben Ali (1987-present) tunisia
Deby (1990-present) chad
Gaddafi (1969-present) lybia
Mubarak (1981-present) egypt

and of course the best of them all: the president of Gabon: Omar Bongo (1967-present)

but of course that won't register when it comes to Mugabé bashing who while being pretty bad, is not the ultimate evil in the african context.

Angus said...

Wow, I've been worried about Museveni's authoritarian tendencies, and deliberately excluded the north african autocrats, but was honestly unaware of the other cases you mention. Thanks very much for the comment. Mugabe will clearly NOT be the end of the "big man" era.

You imply that Mugabe is not the worst of the existing "big men", I would say that he is. Who would you put up against him??

thanks again, angus

random african said...

well, here i was talking about the real big men.. the ones that came to power through coups or undemocratic successions, the ones that have tailor-made constitutions or changed it to get more terms..

that doesnt mean the others who respect the term limit are angels and examples of rule of law.

now on Mugabé not being the worst.. well let's see:

recent macro economic policies: he may "win" that one.
democracy ? no he's not the worst. At least he once has contested fairly open elections in the past. which is not the case for most if not not all the people on that list.
corruption ? well why not talk about Deby who changed the law (imposed to him by the World Bank) allocating 10% of his oil revenue to Health and Education just to buy guns to fight a rebellion (headed by cousins of his, tells you how bad he is).
what about Sassou who's government officially announced it "misplaced" $300 of oil revenues after Global Witness discovered they were lacking and weeks later said it was actually hidden in personnal accounts belonging to his family to avoid Vulture Funds ?
what about Dos Santos who is leading a worse-than-tibet anti-insurgency/ehtnic-cleansing operation in the oil-rich Cabinda ?
what about Biya who's son is the biggest forest owner in his country ?
what about Compaoré who has been rumoured to have more than an hand in Conflict Diamond business in Liberia/SierraLeone/Ivory Coast ?
what about Obiang who owns with his family 80% of the real estate in his tiny country ?
and let's not talk about the poverty of those countries, the corrupt climate, the killings...

what i'm saying is not that there's anyone clearly worse than him, it's just that it's not clearly the worse either.

and that's sad.

Angus said...

great post. thanks!