/ 22 September 2017

Zimbabwe’s first shoppers keep on rolling

(Photo: Thembinkosi Dwayisa/Sunday Times/Gallo Images)
(Photo: Thembinkosi Dwayisa/Sunday Times/Gallo Images)

It has been yet another big-spending week for members of the extended Mugabe clan. This time, it was Russell Goreraza, Grace Mugabe’s eldest son from her previous marriage, who dominated the headlines.

On Sunday, two luxury Rolls-Royce limousines arrived at Harare International Airport, worth a tidy R70-million together. Goreraza (33) was waiting to pick them up and reportedly spent that evening celebrating his new acquisitions with plenty of champagne.

Goreraza might want to be careful mixing alcohol and driving, especially on Harare’s infamously potholed roads, given that he already has a culpable homicide conviction for killing a pedestrian in 2015. He received a sentence of just two months in prison and a fine of $800, with critics suggesting that he got off lightly thanks to his connection to the president.

Meanwhile, Goreraza’s half-brother Bellarmine Mugabe (21) was spotted this week at a McDonald’s in New York. Although the cuisine may have been low-brow, the pair of Gucci shopping bags carried by his bodyguards suggests high fashion — and, no doubt, high price.

Bellarmine was in the Big Apple with his father, President Robert Mugabe, who was attending the United Nations General Assembly. The 93-year-old perhaps needn’t have bothered to make the trip: during United States President Donald Trump’s speech, one of the most dramatic in UN history, Mugabe senior was spotted with his eyes closed and head slumped on his chest. Not sleeping, government officials insist, but merely “resting his eyes”.

The Mugabe family’s largesse extends to their entourage. The large Zimbabwean delegation that accompanied Mugabe to the UN — more than 70 people, according to some reports — each received a per diem of $1 500. How many Big Macs could Bellarmine buy with that?

By way of contrast, Zimbabwe’s annual gross domestic product per person is only $1 008 — not enough for even one Gucci handbag.