Monthly Archives: July 2014

Zimbabwe: In the eyes of a “born free”

A bit of an eye opener .        Zimbabwe: In the eyes of a “born free”.


Zimbabwean Diamonds Stolen at DDE Auction


Representational picture Representational picture

Zimbabwean mining firm Jinan Diamond Mine’s parcel containing 54 rough diamonds was allegedly substituted with a parcel containing inferior quality diamonds at the ongoing auction of Marange stones at the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE).

The incident took place last Tuesday and was reported by the Zimbabwe Mail that quoted “reliable sources” in Dubai saying that the stones were later found with a buyer of Lebanese descent who had allegedly swapped one of the two Jinan gem parcels containing diamonds worth millions of dollars for an inferior gem parcel valued at a paltry $10 000.

Jinan officials only discovered the theft when discrepancies arose on the weights of the swapped parcels. Security video footage helped nab the alleged thief in his hotel room who is said to be of Lebanese origin.

Upon interrogation, the buyer was said to have confessed to stealing the diamonds, which were all recovered. The…

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beautiful pictures you have a brilliant eye for beauty

Frankie Kay Foto's

Gwanda, in Matabeleland South is a dry, dusty, often waterless place. My heart always drops when I hear a client say he wants a borehole there… As usual I took my camera along and took some photos of what I call, “nature’s gardens.” I wouldn’t mind having them in my garden.Gwanda

Pity these weren’t flowering when we went…Gwanda

We left very late in the evening – I wanted to get a shot of the baboon sitting on the rock in the picture below – my camera wasn’t sure what to focus on.Gwanda

The road was terrible, especially at night and the light from the moon didn’t really help. I wonder why the VID don’t teach people the theory behind dipping lights? Its really not my fault that my lights are bright – in fact, its useful on dirt roads!Gwanda

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My Country Zimbabwe 34 Years and still Counting

My Country Zimbabwe
34 Years and still Counting


This brilliant article is one written by Nyasha Mcbride Mpani . He is a excellent writer whose article i had to share  with you  You can find the original article at

18 April 1980 witnessed the birth of my country Zimbabwe. The march to Zimbabwe’s independence had been a long, arduous and hazardous one with many sons and daughters of the land losing their lives to set the country free from colonial bondage. It was a protracted struggle against many injustices which hindered the growth and development of the black race. The struggle was to liberate and empower the black Zimbabweans so that they may get quality health care, quality education, equal distribution of the land, freedom of expression and most importantly their democratic right to vote for a leader whom they want.

34 years down the line having defeated the “white master” the gains of the liberation struggle seem to be reversed. Zimbabweans are not at all enjoying quality and free health care which the living and dead heroes fought for. The health sector faces a myriad of challenges chief among them being the human resource deficit. With an increase in disease burden and non-communicable diseases the government is failing to stand the challenge. Government does not have enough resources to buy new technologies to be used in treating such diseases as cancer. Staff establishment in this sector is not being carried out. A scaring fact is that our black government that we overwhelmingly voted for to be in power in 1980 last conducted a staff review in the health sector in 1983 when population of the country was 7,3million and now its 13 million and the sector is understaffed and failing to match the World Health Organization ratio of 2,258 health personnel per thousand people.

Souring unemployment rate continues to rise with many graduates who are being chucked out of tertiary institutions in the country resorting to vending as a result of failing to get a decent job. Social capital now determines one’s chance to get a decent job. Whom you know measures more than what you know. The scourge of nepotism is keeping more competent individuals out of jobs. Education which is seen as a tool to liberate and empower an individual is slowly being rendered useless by many Zimbabwean youths who now see “Hustling” as being profitable than going to school. The teaching profession which was so celebrated by many just after independence has lost its dignity and value and no tangible efforts are being made by the government of the people to restore value and dignity to this life changing career.

The liberation struggle that was fought by our forefathers was against unequal distribution of resources. Equality was one of the banners of the armed struggle. Struggle was for one man one farm. Now we have the country in our hands 34 years ruling ourselves and the situation seems as if the country has been invaded by black colonialists with white tendencies of having everything to themselves and not to everyone. Corruption is now rampant with only a few looting loads and loads of cash to their houses whilst others go home every month without salaries. Justice has failed to bring these looters to book and as things stand in an Independent Zimbabwe it is evident that being poor is a crime in Zimbabwe and their calls for equality and justices are striking on a brick wall.

As I celebrate 34 years of self rule in my beloved country Zimbabwe I ponder and ask myself these questions “Is Zimbabwe a failed State? Is this what our heroes fought for?”

“Long Live Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will never be a colony again”
Posted by Nyasha Mcbride Mpani at 05:35

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Yet Another Fake Honour for and Another Lie from Robert Mugabe

well balanced and i enjoyed this article


Yet Another Fake Honour for and Another Lie from Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe the Commander in Chief was presented with yet another phoney award over the weekend strangely called the “best shooter of all times”. Robert Mugabe the Commander in Thief proceeded to be economical with truth with regards to the country’s economy.

The award was presented by a man whose legs have developed a habit of giving away under the rest his body or if one goes by his explanation occasionally wears shoes of the wrong size which cause his toes to be put under immense pressure resulting in him not being to be able to sit up straight for a period of time.

The best shooter of all time? How insensitive and ridiculous can Chihuri get? If anything the award is an embarrassment to Robert Mugabe who if his former mates from the 70s are to be believed…

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The disempowerment of blacks by blacks – Part 3

There is an expression The Truth Will Set You Free ! today the last part of Ken Yamamotos article has just been published online .That  a man not a native to Zimbabwe can produce such an article and include such an accurate description of places and area that only a local Zimbabwean could know which areas he was talking about to me shows a man who has taken time to research in person his topic. The final  part of his article is so good i had to read it twice just because i was shocked at his accuracy .Mr Ken Yamamoto my thanks for your article. It can be found on


In this third instalment on disempowerment in Zimbabwe Ken Yamamoto argues that there is no foreseeable turnaround in Zimbabwe, especially with a clueless and inept leadership, which is not capable of dealing with twenty-first century challenges in a globalised environment.

A Leadership Bridge to Nowhere
THE trouble with a rat race is that even if you win, you remain a rat. This is exactly the situation that Zimbabwe’s government finds itself in after winning the elections last year. Reading through Zimbabwe’s online media lately, it does seem that there is enough scandal, or sad story day after day to fill the 24-hour media cycle, as if to keep the people busy and prevent them from rioting, but no doubt all the dynamics in Zimbabwe are in effect a powder keg.

The Average Joe’s Dilemma
Zimbabwe’s International airport is a small terminal the size of Hakata train station in Fukuoka, Japan. Just getting off a plane and entering Zimbabwe is in itself a swim into one scandal after another, much like you are getting into Nigeria. Built a few years ago around a tendering scandal involving Air Harbour Technologies, a company related to the President’s nephew Leo Mugabe, the poor lighting at the airport is an omen of what you get to see as you proceed into the country.

There is one way to get from the airport into the CBD. You can only do it via a short incomplete highway that has been under construction since 2007. That highway is a poster-project of how not to manage a project. Corruption around that road stinks to high heaven. It is in itself a scandal, linked to the Minister of Local Government, Ignatious Chombo, who has been linked to every corruption scandal involving local authorities; and one Ken Sharpe, a businessman linked to Augur Investments, a little-known firm from Estonia.

Ken Sharpe and the folks he fronts won themselves prime land to build a shopping mall in a wetland in an upmarket suburb, in exchange for the airport road project they did not complete. Needless to say that the ordinary citizen is now picking up the tab as the project has now been kicked over to ZINARA to complete. To add insult to injury, motorists will have to pay more after Minister Obert Mpofu, another one with dubiously acquired wealth, doubled the tollgate fees. Yet Ken Sharpe, Michael Mahachi and all the shady characters behind this clearly not so scrupulous deal, in spite of failing to deliver an airport highway to the people of Zimbabwe, are going to keep the land their acquired nefariously without fulfilling their end of the bargain.

If you venture into Harare’s CBD from the airport, you invariably pass through an intersection just after the underpass at a railway line. At this traffic-light controlled intersection, you find all manner of young people peddling wares of all sorts, hoping that the traffic lights will hold up the cars long enough to secure a sale. Some peddle Zimbabwe flags, bottled water, lapel pins, electric boilers, newspapers, prepaid phone credit (juice card – they call it), car radio frequency modulators, car phone chargers and Chinese sex therapies to mention but a few.

The vendors’ ages are varied, but what’s very clear is that they are very young people trying to eke out an honest living. As I sit on the passenger side of the airport taxi, a young boy approaches. “How much is a Zimbabwean flag?”, I ask inquisitively, thinking to increase the African flags we keep in our Tokyo office. “Only $3, but for you muChina, I will give two for a $1”, he punts, showing experience at the sales game. I am used to the fact that many Africans think every Asian is Chinese. “Are you not supposed to be in school? How old are you?” I ask, since it’s midweek. “I will go next week, this week I have to raise money. I am 11 years old”, he says. I give him $20 for one flag and encourage him to go back to school.

As I proceed to the hotel, this situation is replicated at every intersection. I can’t help agonising how Zimbabwe’s 90 year-old President and his team have ruined an entire generation. How is it possible that such infirm elders whose soundness of mind has diminished with age are so reckless as to want to determine the future of millions of young people?

Turning the clock 17 years back
My first trip to Zimbabwe was in 1998 as a young engineer doing postgraduate studies in economics. At that time, I was visiting my uncle (ojisan), Takashima San who was a director on a project in which Fujitsu was digitalising PTC’s relay stations in Mashonaland and Matabeleland. The project was carried out after the Japanese government had advanced a loan to the Zimbabwean government to modernise its telecoms infrastructure, which the latter has not finished paying to date. At that time, I travelled as a backpacker to many places in Zimbabwe: Karoi, Kariba, Mutare, Nyanga, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and several other places.

Back then, my uncle and I stayed at the Oasis hotel, then later at the George Hotel at Avondale Shopping Centre. In 1998, Zimbabwe was intact, but its infrastructure was starting to show signs of distress. This could be seen through power black outs, increasing potholes on the roads, piped water shortages and so on.

Yet this was the period Mugabe started losing it, making decisions that have left Zimbabwe on the precipice. That’s the period he made the fateful yet single-handed but idiotic decision of venturing into the DRC war, which caused the economy to run out of foreign currency reserves by as early as 1999. Prior to that, he had issued unbudgeted gratuities to former fighters of the war of independence. Both decisions set the economy into an extreme fragile mode.

Manufacturing in Terminal Decline
Back in 1998, it was not common to see vendors at every traffic light, like is the case at present. There were street kids, yes, but there was not so much vending on the street. Yet at that time, it was clear that Zimbabwe’s economy and manufacturing sector was on a path of decline. This had started with massive retrenchments in the early 1990s. But evidence of a dying manufacturing sector could be seen by any discerning economist everywhere.

This was easy to see if you visited the multiplicity of flea markets that were sprouting all over Harare by 1998. It was evident that 99% of the goods peddled at the flea markets were not made locally. Jeans, shirts, shoes among several other items were all mainly from Asia, perhaps imported through South Africa. I recall buying a satchel branded “Kings” to replace my torn backpack which was made in China. You could see thousands of such bags all over Harare’s flea markets. To a discerning eye back then, this projected a manufacturing sector in decline.

So from the late 90s, Zimbabwe was significantly losing its competitiveness. The average folks were not seeing it as it was gradual, but the economy was, particularly the manufacturing sector, losing jobs gradually. The politicians, who seem to have an oversized view of their country didn’t see it either. The President, who holds many paper degrees is practically economically incompetent because if he was he would have foreseen the consequences of his policies.

Seventeen years later, the streets and informal trading points have been absorbing more and more redundant workers. They have also been receiving more and more graduates. The odds of getting a formal job after getting a college degree in Zimbabwe are one thousand to one. It represents significant underemployment and sheer waste of resources (motainai – in Japanese) when university graduates spent their day vending mobile phone credit and imported trinkets.

On one hand, it is idiocy for the government to announce as if celebrating the fact that the economy is now more informal, as what Minister Chinamasa did in his 2014 budget document. It is idiotic because the informal sector will neither industrialize nor grow Zimbabwe’s economy. Rather, it has a significant negative multiplier on Zimbabwe’s ability to raise tax revenues, in the process debilitating efforts to invest in infrastructure and the ability to pay of loans.

The point is, as things stand, there is no foreseeable turnaround in Zimbabwe, especially with a clueless and inept leadership, which is not capable of dealing with twenty-first century challenges in a globalised environment. This means that more graduates will not find jobs, more companies will close and make hundreds of thousands of employees redundant, less revenue collection for the government, more kids unable to go to school, decline in infrastructure, more power outages, worse water reticulation capabilities, more vendors at street corners and more risk of diseases; sucking the majority into a vicious vortex of hardships and hopelessness. This is certainly a reversal from the atmosphere of hope that had grown among both citizens and foreign investors during the period of the unity government.

MeanwhileZimbabwe’s government is creating sideshows and seems to have a great propensity of chasing shadows, rats, cockroaches and squirrels; instead of dealing with the elephant in the room. All the efforts in dealing with Facebook characters, so-called weevils and other non-consequent issues are a mindless waste of time and resources.

It’s common in Japan to go out for drinks after a hard day’s work (known as nomikai). As I go for nomikai with my colleagues we review our research areas, and when I talk about Zimbabwe, they often remark that only idiots would elect a 90 year old President into office. Having a chief executive of a country with that age defies logic, as no one at that age can competently deal with complex domestic and foreign affairs, they argue. This is complicated when a country is in an advanced form of state capture, as Zimbabwe is.

The truth in my view is a little bit more complex than my work colleagues think. But nevertheless, Zimbabweans must brace themselves for much worse times and severe disempowerment over the next couple of years as no one in the present leadership is capable of solving the complex challenges at hand.

I have received a number of questions on email about what needs to be done. I shall leave that issue for another day. Suffice it to say that the greatest danger to Zimbabwe is not Robert Mugabe, or Zanu PF, but a citizenry so incompetent as to seem ignorant, and capable of entrusting their fate to an old man like him with little to zero accomplishment on matters of deftly managing the complexities of such a small economy as Zimbabwe.

Sayonara, for now!
Ken Yamamoto is a researcher on Africa at an Institute in Tokyo. He researches and travels frequently in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. You can contact Ken on

Hopefully if any body gets a chance to read it they will get the same satisfaction i had .

The disempowerment of blacks by blacks (Part 2)

This is the second part of Ken Yamamotos article The disempowerment of blacks by blacks What i find particular is that how in his articles he is describing most african country’s post independence  , the only difference is that Zimbabwe has not changed ,34 years on and theft and corruption are still the norm.Whilst most of Africa has moved on and have either dealt with corruption ,theft , and nepotism, Zimbabwe seems to defend it


The disempowerment of blacks by blacks (Part 2) by Ken Yamamoto

Snatching poverty from the jaws of prosperity

I HAD a chance to attend World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa event held in Nigeria that took place from the 7th of this month. The conference had a theme “Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs” – a very well-timed theme. I met many successful and accomplished men and women on the continent running businesses impacting on hundreds of thousands of their continental kinsmen. Their entrepreneurial ventures are making a difference in many ways, such as providing jobs, training and skills development, building infrastructure and funding government through taxes and other levies (even though their leaders are in many ways irresponsible with that money).

In some of the sessions, I saw some successful Zimbabweans in various fields of business endeavour. I have met the same Zimbabweans, and other Zimbabweans in previous WEF events. Many of them are based out of Zimbabwe, and are leading successful organisations with outstanding competence. The most remarkable thing about these Zimbabweans, especially the ones that operate largely outside Zimbabwe is that they all left Zimbabwe at one point or another running away from (i) outright persecution and harassment from their leaders who are supposed to serve them, largely through the use of state machinery, (ii) intimidation by leaders who are supposed to nurture them, (iii) denial of opportunities by leaders who are supposed to avail them and (iv) destruction of opportunities by leaders who are supposed to provide them.


Epitomising disempowerment
There is no more riveting story of sustained efforts at disempowerment and attempts at destroying talent than the story of businessman Strive Masiyiwa. His story epitomizes how blacks can actually invest ceaselessly and with zeal, in destroying one another. His story has been variously told before. Masiyiwa recently gave an abridged version of how his countrymen invested sweat and blood to crash and burn his vision on his Facebook page.

Mobile phone services as we know them today (at least the digital GSM format) were first launched in Finland in 1991 by Elisa (then known as Radiolinja). Prior to that, mobile telephony had evolved in various ways and countries over the century, with Japan’s NTT launching the first analogue cellular network in 1979. Masiyiwa, by his own account, read about mobile networks from magazines he used to subscribe to (back then the Internet as we know it today was not available for ordinary use). This empowered him to be ahead of the curve on this issue in Africa.

His story is a mixture of vision, faith, religion, and strength of character enabling him to swim against the tide of sustained attacks and aggressive efforts to disempower him by a corrupt mafia-like government that purports to empower citizens. According to Masiyiwa, his plan was to partner with the state-owned operator, then known as PTC, which he had worked for on a 50-50 basis. Unlike NTT, which had a long vision about cellular technology way back in 1979, PTC, in the 90s, actually thought this was a telecoms fad so they were not interested in developing such a venture. And they expressed this position in writing, which Masiyiwa used to set up his company.

Much of what happened to him, including being jailed, followed and intimidated is well known. What is profound though is that (i) Strive went to court (High Court and Supreme Court) several times to fight a black government bent on leaving him penniless – winning all the time (ii) he assembled a legal team with people of various races, nationalities and strengths, (iii) upon the telecoms monopoly being struck off by the Supreme court, twice, the Ministry of information worked overtime to craft a law that criminalised Masiyiwa’s plans to set up a mobile network, (iv) Masiyiwa was alerted to the opportunity to challenge PTC’s monopoly via the constitutional route by one Edison Zvobgo, who was a cabinet minister who told him that he was there when the Zimbabwe constitution was crafted in 1979 at Lancaster

(v) Joice Mujuru, then minister of information, now vice-president, ordered Strive to surrender to government the equipment he had imported from Ericson, a Swedish company, (v) it took Joshua Nkomo, an old man moving around on a cane, to intervene for Strive’s firm to eventually be licenced (vi) Mugabe was in the background encouraging this circus to play out over several years (note that his nephew, Leo Mugabe, was a partner in a rival network that was quickly cobbled up to supplant Econet, together with James Makamba, Jane Mutasa, and Webster Shamu, who was then secretary general of the war veterans organisation in Harare), (the excuse that was used to try to silence Masiyiwa was that he was working for foreign governments – rings a bell?) and (vii) despite its success, Econet is still maligned by the state, according to recent comments by its CEO.

It would be really an amusing twist of fate if Robert Mugabe and Joice Mujuru have Econet lines or use Econet broadband, given their role in trying to cause a stillbirth of the company. I have used some Econet services in Zimbabwe, and their service is crappy and overpriced, but there is no doubt that it’s the largest company in Zimbabwe, contributing the largest to GDP, direct and indirect employment, and so on. Econet is also the largest advertiser in Zimbabwe, supporting many related advertising and outdoor media companies. Its tax contributions and FDI investments are actually oiling the same charlatans that were responsible for its near demise at inception, much like a son who takes care of a mother who nearly aborted him years before. I have argued before that it’s a sign of economic sickness when the largest company in a country is a telecoms company for the simple reason that it reflects a consumptive rather than productive economy.

The real irony of Masiyiwa’s story is that he was the secretary of the empowerment lobby group, Indigenous Business Development Centre (IBDC), which was the first organisation in Zimbabwe, set up to lobby and pressure Mugabe and his government to provide conditions for the prosperity of black-run businesses. Before that, it is common cause that Mugabe was not interested in the development of black capital and the success of black entrepreneurs.

Specialising and investing in disempowerment

Businesses seized by the government … Mutumwa Mawere
So how is it possible that a President of an entire country, his cabinet ministers, the intelligence agencies and other elements of the state machinery work so indefatigably hard to destroy a well-meaning person’s transformational and life-changing vision? The single largest company in Japan by global revenues is Toyota. It is followed by many other firms such as Mitsubishi UFJ, NTT, Honda, Canon, Sumitomo, Mizuho Financial Group, Mitsubishi and so on. It is almost unthinkable what could have happened had the authorities in Japan stifled these firms when they were starting. They would have disempowered millions of Japanese employees and several million others in their global operations.

I cannot for the life of me comprehend how it was easy for the Zimbabwean politicians to harass an enterprising national for their selfish ends. It is also mind boggling that people like Edison Zvobgo would not have the guts to fight such matter in cabinet, opting to tip Masiyiwa off on what issues to bring up in the constitutional court. It tells a story about the leadership of Zimbabwe.

The foregoing Masiyiwa story is symptomatic of how the government of Zimbabwe has perfected the art if disempowering its own people. It is not just Strive Masiyiwa by the way. Every businessman of note in Zimbabwean has suffered various forms of harassment of one form or another. James Makamba, for example, may have fronted the team that connived in disempowering Masiyiwa by putting up the Telecel tender with a view to pulling the rug from under his feet, but he later tasted Mugabe’s vile medicine and he has been in exile since. Nigel Chanakira effectively lost the bank he founded, largely due to the way the economy was run down.

Mutumwa Mawere, in spite of the controversy surrounding his acquisition of the Turnall and Newall owned SMM mines, was and may still be an entrepreneurial genius. Love him or hate him, Mawere took over a collapsed asbestos mine producing a globally toxic product, but he turned it around and ended up acquiring and controlling several other listed companies. However, it took Mugabe and his mafia a few months to bring the entire operation down, leaving it belly up.

Like they did with Masiyiwa, Patrick Chinamasa, with connivance from Gideon Gono actually created a law to codify and pave way for the permanent disempowerment of their fellow citizen. Ten years since this happened, Zvishavane, where Shabanie Mashava Mines is based, is a ghost town, leaving thousands of unemployed persons in its shadows. Several other business persons have suffered the same fate as Messrs Masiyiwa, Mawere, Chanakira, Mutasa, Ncube and so forth.

Hounded out of the country … James Makamba

So what am I pointing out here? It’s common for businesses and their managers to violate the law from time to time. And indeed they get punished. For example, Wall Street banks paid over $100 billion in fines to federal regulators. Banks such as JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse, Barclays, HSBC, Bank of Totyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, among several others were fined for a variety of malpractices. But in country like Zimbabwe where the leadership has pretty much criminalised everyone, not only do they disempower black businessmen and run down their operations as in Mawere’s case, they also make sure that credible entrepreneurs not in their good graces have their vision euthanized as they tried to do in Masiyiwa’s case.

It is strange that Mugabe and his government nurture, support, and enable the operations of shady businessmen such as Billy Rautenback and John Bredenkamp. It is now in the public domain, courtesy of one Temba Mliswa, that Rautenbach got free platinum claims from the Zimbabwe government and went on to sell those for a billion dollars to Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC). Rautenbach, advanced $100 million to the Zanu PF election campaign in 2008 via Lefever Finance, a British Virgin Islands registered vehicle of Central African Mining and Development Company (Camec) in which Rautenbach had vast interests. This gave his company an effective 60% equity in Todal Mining (Pvt) Ltd, the company that owns the Bokai Platinum Project south west of Gweru, previously owned by Anglo-American. In this web of transactions, Rautenbach ended up owning at least 7% of CAMEC shares which was listed on the LSE’s Alternative Investment Market. ENRC later acquired CAMEC, for $945 million, leaving people like Billy Rautenback multi-millionaires, hence Mliswa’s anger at losing out on the cash.

Opportunity lost for billion dollar businesses and a $100 billion dollar economy.
If Zimbabwe’s economy had decent stewards with a modicum of vision, Zimbabwe’s economy would have been the third largest economy in Africa, or better, because it had a good head start. It could easily have been the Singapore or South Korea of Africa. Is your question what should have been done? The answer should not even be rocket science. Mugabe and his mafia should have incubated, nurtured, supported and helped fund, right from 1980, many competent business entrepreneurs to set up businesses that would have developed strength at home, and rapidly grown into the southern and eastern African region. If this had happened, Zimbabwe would today have been a $100 billion economy today at the very least, and instead of its citizens flowing in all directions running away from home, Zimbabwe would have been a magnet of immigrants dashing into the small country for opportunities.

People Zanu PF would rather deal with … Billy Rautenbach

It was very possible and very opportune for, say, supermarket chains, telecoms firms, banks, engineering firms, manufacturing firms and services companies to start from Zimbabwe and grow into Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, and even South Africa, later after it got independent. Zimbabwe was poised to galvanise this kind of growth much the same way a war-ravaged Japan rapidly grew and dominated the European, Asian and American markets with electronics and automobiles after the Second World War. There is absolutely no reason for, say, supermarket chains like Pick n Pay, to be expanding into Zimbabwe and the rest of the SADC region the way they are doing had Mugabe had a decent vision about the growth of the country and its entrepreneurs. What is happening in Rwanda today under Paul Kagame from a development point of view is what Mugabe should have done to Zimbabwe.

Masiyiwa had a far greater vision than Mugabe, so he indeed built his business to outgrow Mugabe and his mafia’s destructive machinery. To build a billion dollar business, one has to look at the populations outside the country’s borders for markets. Zimbabwe is a very tiny country with a population of around thirteen million. If Mugabe was in Tokyo, or Beijing – he would be a mayor. This means that it is not a very huge market and growth for any business has to come from outside. But achieving that requires meticulous planning and vision at home. It is my hope that with Mugabe’s days numbered, as everyone’s days are, the next leader will have a vision large enough to empower its own citizens to build strong businesses that will competitively take on the regional, continental and global markets and catapult Zimbabwe into a $100 billion economy if not more.

Ken Yamamoto is a researcher on Africa at an Institute in Tokyo. He researches and travels frequently in Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe. He recently added Rwanda to his purview. You can contact Ken on