Zim spends more on trips than education

2012-02-24 22:30

Harare - Zimbabwe's coalition government spent three times more on foreign junkets for top government officials in 2011 than on schooling, Education Minister David Coltart said on Friday.

According to the minister, Zimbabwe in 2011 spent $14.8m on its 3 000 schools, excluding salaries.

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, along with their officials, racked up $45m in travel expenses abroad, Coltart told dpa.

"It's shameful," Coltart said. "The infrastructure in our schools is in crisis. We are undermining the education of an entire generation."

Coltart is a member of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party, which has been in an uneasy coalition with Mugabe's Zanu-PF party since 2009.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, also from the MDC, had revealed previously that Mugabe's trips - with delegations of up to 80 people - cost the country $20.6m last year. He says he is powerless to contain the president's travel.

Government officials are also accused by Zimbabwean watchdogs of going abroad for shopping sprees at taxpayers' expense. The 88-year-old president, believed to be recovering from cancer, frequently travels to the Far East for medical treatments.

After independence in 1980, Zimbabwe, led by Mugabe - who was a school teacher before becoming a liberation fighter - built up its education system to be one of the best in Africa.

But the country is only now starting to recover from an economic collapse in 2008 - when inflation hit 500 billion percent. The national currency crashed and government services ground to a halt. Schools were shut down for much of the year.

Economists say Mugabe's policies of the last 15 years, including the seizures without compensation of white-owned farms, caused the tailspin.

Last year, Western governments pumped $24m of aid into Zimbabwe's schools, including a programme to provide 523 million textbooks for pupils.

  • Chris - 2012-02-24 23:40

    No food, no education, no power, no nothing, but at least they showed those white imperialist counter-revolutionary neo-colonialist agents who is the boss, neh?

      Max - 2012-02-25 03:54

      You go Zimbos, show the rest of world what we in Africa can achieve without the evil colonialists that thought they are protecting us against our own incompetence. Show them how we can destroy a civilization that they have build up, in a blink of an eye. Don't slow down now, the whole of Africa is behind you. Viva self-destruction, viva!

      Ja - 2012-02-25 08:35

      Well said .. get these men a Bells .. oh sorry .. no stock .. it's all in Bob booze cabinet ..

      Ja - 2012-02-25 08:36

      Hey ..Where are are all our black brothers .. please come comment on how great Bob and co is ..

      danie.strydom.7 - 2012-11-03 00:06

      Regardless of how STUPID and IGNORANT bob & jaan is, i feel sorry for the children in Zimbabwe being robbed of any chance of a future. Sentenced to an life of suffering by your own kind. When will these Zimbos wake up? The chip on your shoulders about the white man is what will ultimately kill you off. It must be sad to think that your hate for the white man is what will eradicate you from planet earth. Forget these colour barriers my Zimbo friends, and think of your country and the future, the children. Is this intolerant hate worth it? We as white people f*Ck*d up yes, we know. And we have apologized, and moved on. Shouldn't you learn yet another lesson from the BWANA? Move on, and give your kids a chance at least!

  • Viman Singh - 2012-02-24 23:48

    Robert Mugabe is an ass. Nothing else to say.

      Juan - 2012-02-25 03:33

      and so is the esteemed president to the south

  • heinrich.crouse - 2012-02-24 23:49

    Why exclude salaries from the equation? Anyway - viva Afrika! Shopping is the only acceptable western import.

      piet.strydom - 2012-02-26 22:23

      Missed that - it makes the whole article meaningless. What was the money spent on then?

      dan8472 - 2012-11-03 01:13

      Er... infrastructure (buildings), textbooks, computers, phone bills, internet connections, sports facilities, school feeding programme etc etc etc. It truly is a shameful situation. I wonder how much was spent on the army, and keeping the generals in check.

  • SaintBruce - 2012-02-24 23:53

    Crazy, just crazy. There is not much in Africa to call success these days besides Botswana where they seem to get their political and economic mix right. I understand why the West tried so hard to keep Communist ideologies out of Africa - all they have resulted in is destruction, misery and pain. Of course, from a spiritual point of view, you want to worship the dead, then expect death and destruction to reign. Zimbabwe was a land of great hope but is now a ruin.

  • criticallyhonest - 2012-02-25 02:22

    The basis for class structures in Africa is power and money, in itself not so different from anywhere else. In primitive/tribal societies power is expressed by subjugation and visible excess....add the safety measure of keeping the masses ignorant. Obviously Zimbabwe has already returned to a subsistence tribal structure.....I wonder just how long it will take for SA to get there?

  • Juan - 2012-02-25 03:32

    well keep them dumb hey so that you can stay in power.

  • Rob - 2012-02-25 05:46

    "Last Year, Western governments pumped $24m of aid into Zimbabwe's schools".... "Zimbabwe in 2011 spent $14.8m on its 3 000 schools, excluding salaries." Enough said

  • sefeddt - 2012-02-25 07:08

    "Crisis ? What crisis ? " said our pipe smoking ex President who himself was very fond of travelling the world.

  • Kim - 2012-02-25 07:09

    That is why they are where they are today...Nowhere

  • Arnold - 2012-02-25 07:16

    wonder what our stats look like

  • jason.dutoit - 2012-02-25 08:12

    and yet they still have better education (by far) that we do :(

      John - 2012-02-25 10:39

      Had..... there is no education there any longer....

  • Larry - 2012-02-25 08:49

    A bigger problem is, they have nobody on the horizon that is competent enough to change the situation. MDC are in there for what they can get.

  • John - 2012-02-25 10:45

    Its time the world stopped pumping money into dictatorships like this. All they doing is delaying the inevitable collapse of the state, extending the life and wealth of those like Bob. And unfortunately, the longer it takes for the country to collapse the greater the extent of the damage and the longer it will take for them to re-build the great potential that the continent has.

      Steve - 2012-02-25 13:36

      Lets have a look at Africa and the rest of the world. The so called help they give African nations. Are we really all so naive to believe that it would be better for the western world to aid the African economies? Is it not cheaper to give the government $24 million ( parking change for America ) than to help them to rise up and become " World economic power houses "? This would not only cost huge amounts of money as its always pilfered, it would also be a feat like no other to try to teach ignorant people the ways of the world. If this were achieved by some miracle then there would be a situation where the richer countries would have to pay far more for their imports than currently. Economically viable for them? I guess not. The first Zimbabwean dollar was introduced in 1980 and replaced the Rhodesian dollar at par. The initial ISO 4217 code was ZWD. At the time of its introduction, the Zimbabwean dollar was worth more than the U.S. dollar, with ZWD 1 = USD 1.47 However, the currency's value eroded rapidly over the years. On 26 July 2006, the parallel market value of the Zimbabwean dollar fell to one hundred to the British pound.[6] It is hard really to see an exact difference today as Zimbabwe do not officially have a currency ( imagine a country which doesnt even have its own money- yet the idiot Mugabe thinks he is a genius, go BOB ) My guess here is thats its far more economically viable for the Western world to allow Africa to stay as poor as it will always be!!!

  • Samora Machel Thamsanqa - 2012-02-25 12:59

    Zimbabwe is still the best in education in all if Africa (if not second best to Tunisia)

      Michael - 2012-02-26 09:47

      yes Zim have a great education system which was inherited from the old govt based on the cambridge system

      Kevin - 2012-02-26 16:01

      While Zim may still be producing international standard matriculants, does anyone know what the University standards are like there? Pathetic - wherever the government interferes, there's a problem. High school is strictly to UK standards and is monitored by the UK. Most of the schools that still work are private. The Zim government can take no credit whatsoever for the good standard of high school education in Zim. But like most African countries, the funding will be slowly bled away from schooling and channeled into the politicians pockets. GO BOB!

  • Wayne - 2012-02-25 18:38

    Amazing, as the 3 Zimbabweans I have working for me can all read and write but the remaining 12 South Africans can barely make a mark when signing for their monthly wage...

      amanda.victor2 - 2012-02-25 22:04

      They probably got educated before Mugabe lost his mind.

  • Michael - 2012-02-26 08:15

    Now thats how you run a country glad to see they have their priorities in the right place

  • Wilbert - 2012-02-28 15:34

    It is refreshing to hear Minister David Coltart saying what he should have been saying all along. The Minister shocked his Australian audience last year during his visit there last year when he started singing the praises of Mugabe. The GNU was “working” the Minister said. “No, Mugabe is no monster!” Really here is what kind of regime other than one headed by a monster can spend neglect the education of the nation whilst spending such astronomical amounts of money on luxurious for the ruling few. To be fair on Minister Coltart, he was not alone in praising Mugabe after joining the pampered ruling elite. Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti told the world Mugabe “was a Victorian gentleman who should be knighted!” The worst bootlicker was none other than Prime Minister Tsvangirai himself. Only two weeks ago PM gave his approval to Mugabe’s bloody diamond mining operations; everyone knows Mugabe is using his ill got fortune to finance the country’s scourge of political violence. How foolish is that!?

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