Zimbabwe

Grace Mugabe dinner gets $4.2m: Five stories you might have missed from Zim

2016-11-07 12:00
Grace Mugabe. (File: AP)

Grace Mugabe. (File: AP)

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Harare - The Zimbabwe authorities are about to DYE fuel so they can check if importers paid tax on it.

Can you imagine the country's rapacious police officers checking on that at roadblocks?

Here are five stories you might have missed from Zimbabwe in recent days.

A tip: not every Zimbabwean is cash-strapped.

Zanu-PF fundraising dinner makes $4.2m: Grace Mugabe's confident speech obviously worked because business people attended it dug deep to hand over a whopping $4.2m, according to state media. No matter that there's no cash for drugs in hospitals and a municipal rubbish dump is on fire (and likely to stay on fire until the rains come), ruling party supporters put their money where their mouths are. Or where the first lady is.

Fuel to be chemically marked: Fuel smuggling is on the rise as Zimbabweans brace themselves for the introduction of bond note. This weekend, the Sunday Mail reported that the Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority "will soon be marking all imported fuel". It will ensure maximum revenue collection, the paper said. That's all well and good if fuel stations are still stocked with fuel and you can still use your credit card to pay for it. The fear on the streets is that soon you'll see shortages and cash-only signs at fuel stations (as is already happening with cooking oil in at least one Harare store: see below).

Degrees for the boys: Zimbabwe's airforce chief Perence Shiri has just got a Master's degree from the Women's University in Zimbabwe. He joins a list of those closely aligned to the ruling party who are topping up or adding to their qualifications (Grace Mugabe got a PhD from the University of Zimbabwe in 2014 after just three months of study while police chief Augustine Chihuri got a DPhil from the little known Mount Carmel Institute last year). Shiri's subject? International Development.

New offence: water hoarding. You've heard of cash hoarding and hoarding of basic goods but here's a new thing the Zimbabwe authorities want to clamp down on: water hoarding. The state-owned Chronicle reported late last week that residents of Bulawayo are being warned against "hoarding and wasting water". Residents are "filling up containers and tubs" for use when water isn't coming through the taps, the paper said. What else are they supposed to do? Water shortages are fraying tempers in Bulawayo so badly that one person was reported stabbed at a borehole over the weekend.

Ghost cars: Locals say ghost cars and ghost buses ply the stretch of road between Harare and Hwedza, according to last week's Sunday Mail. Apparently if you board a bus here late at night you could wake up and find yourself back at the bus-stop.

Metaphors apart, maybe ghost cars might be the way round dyed fuel?

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