And so they have gathered in Uganda, exchanging brilliant notes on how to reduce infant mortality rates and partenal mortality rates. A very good topic. Soft landing. Thats what they do, they can talk about anything else, as long as it doesnt threaten their stranglehold on power. Such is the calibre of our African leaders!
You may be aware that Zimbabwe has finally been allowed by the Kimberly Process Diamond marketing syndicate to sell its stockpile of alluvial diamonds. It is estimated that Zimbabwe currently has diamond stocks worth about US2,5 Billion. It is also estimated that the diamond find in Zimbabwe at the moment is the biggest find in over a century. Basically, Zimbabwe's find rivals or perhaps exceeds the Kimberly (South Africa) diamond fields which largely built South Africa's economy to what it is now.
When the fields were discovered around 2007, villagers dug out huge trenches and sold diamonds literally on the streets. A few wise men instantly became millionaires. The government reacted swiftly and deployed the army. Rumours surfaced that there were brutalities and wanton human rights abuses. The international community immediately slammed us with a selling and marketing ban. Since then we have been stuck with the gems.
Our economy has been struggling for the past 10 years. Presently, our GDP was estimated at US2 Billion at the beginning of the year. It has since been revised downwards to US1,4 Billion. At peak, our GDP hovered around US6 Billion.
The question is, with our current situation, should we be allowed to sell or not?
One of Zimbabwe's most flamboyant businessman Mr. Phillip Chiyangwa has announced that the Black Stars of Ghana will be coming to Zimbabwe in early August to play our national team, The Warriors. True to his style, Chiyangwa proclaimed that he is bankrolling everything from chatering an Air-Zimbabwe plane from Harare to pick up the boys in Accra and back to paying hotel bills and all other costs. In his own words, he would like to personally see Gyan in Zimbabwe dribbling past our national team players.
Mr. Chiyangwa is not short of controversies. He is known to own over a hundred cars and claims he is one of the richest guys on the continent. At one time, he invited journalists to his house and showed them a magnificent room filled to the bream with his stylish suits and designer shoes. He also claims that if he is driving a white car, he will wear a white suit, black car, black suit and so forth. Mr Chiyangwa is a property mogul in Zimbabwe. At present, Harare municipality is pleading with him to sell it back vast tracts of prime land which he has acquired over the years. His Company, Pinacle Investments has embarked on an ambitious project to build replica upmarket houses in Borrowdale (Harare's plushest surbub) known as Chisora Village.
It is also known that when Michael Jackson came to Zimbabwe around 2003, Mr. Chiyangwa personally drove him. He is also known to own a 2 Million Pound Rolce Royce which he does not hesitate to parade for anyone who cares. When the Brazillian organizers came to Zimbabwe last year as part of preparations for the friendly match that was later played this year between Brazil and Zimbabwe, Mr. Chiyangwa also personally drove them in his top of the range vehicle.
At one point, Mr. Chiyangwa sponsored the Premier League in Zimbabwe.
We remain steadfast as we watch what happens next. As they say, the only reason why some of us stick around these parts is to see what happens next!
The whole of Africa is hung over. Its over now. The first ever Soccer World Cup on African soil. For once, we all stood united. African Unity. We rallied behind South Africa. We cheered for Ghana. We cried for Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria and Ivory Coast. But it was all capped yesterday. What a spectacle. Bright lights, magnificent images, wonderfull soccer. Spain took it. Iniesta broke the hearts of the Dutch. We got to know of Paul, the octopus.
Yet, after all is said and done, did we really feel part of it all. How much were black South Africans a part of this great indaba? Will black South Africans wake up today and feel better than they were before this soccer showcase? Will their lives have improved? Did they take anything away from the World Cup? Was the first ever World Cup held in Africa really African?
I think not.
In the townships of Soweto, Alexandra, Khayelitsha and others, today marks a return to the persistant problems. In fact, most black South Africans might from today turn against their brothers from other African countries in another episode of xenophobic attacks. The underlying point being that, nothing has changed. A few guys (read white) will pocket a few millions, whilst the crones in Khayelitsha must still struggle to put meagre food crumbs on their rotten tables. It is sad. It makes some of us angry. It is not fair.
Listening to BBC World Radio this morning, I heard someone say, the level of celebration we accorded Ghana's Black Stars was as if we had lifted the world cup. Should we have celebrated that much? Was that the best we could do? Some people are being fired for reaching the same levels that Ghana reached. Is there something wrong with us? Was Ghana's celebration merely premised on the fact that they outdid the rest of the continent? Shouldn't we have aspired for more? Shouldn't we have aspired to conquer the world rather than conquering ourselves?
It may sound very unpatriotic, but Im rooting on Brazil. Of course I wish Ghana all the very best. Ghana has done well so far. I hope they win tomorrow. For all our sakes. Its still within reach for us as Africans.
We met at work, and friends we became. He was biggish in stature, light in complexion, with full bulging hands. He was a lawyer par excellence. God took Nutifafa away last month.
It was a shocker when I got the news. I was in Nairobi. I did not go for my intended beer afterwards. I know he wanted to be a political power player, a kingmaker. He did not want to be the face of politics, he wanted to control politics from behind. He had already begun this tiresome journey. I know he was going to complete it.
He was loved by his daughter. And he loved her as much. We sometimes spoke about his wife. He loved her too. I never met her, maybe I will. We sometimes spoke about sex. He loved sex too. We were the only two guys married at the firm, so we had a connection. Sometimes when I got too busy, he would advise me to go home to my wife.
We went together to the Volta region. We went to his father's house. We chatted all the way and back. We had wanted to start a flower project in Ghana, the first of its kind under greenhouse. He was providing the land. We found the water salty. We had wanted to desalinate it, creating another project. i will still have to set up a flower project in Ghana. For him. I will. I already have the land. I now need the money.
The same aflao road that we used took him away. the same road we traversed in tranquility. I had wanted to visit the accident scene. I had very little time. In Ghana they celebrate the life of a person when he passes on. In Zimbabwe we mourn, sometimes for weeks, or even months. We bury our dead within three days, four at most. We slaughter a beast to feed the people. It is said if you do not weep visibly at the funeral of a friend or relative, you are a witch. you may be accused of having eaten the dead.
Nuti, you made a mark in my life. I will never forget you. You remain my hero! go well dear friend, till we meet again in Heaven, rest in eternal peace!
It has taken me much longer than I had anticipated to blog. There are many reasons: work, family, social commitments, career development etc. So many things have happened. I left Ghana. I had a second child. We formed our own law firm. We formed the Zimbabwe Ghana Business Forum (ZGBF). It metamorphosed into the Zimbabwe International Business Forum (ZIBF). I am the Vice Chairperson. I convinced the Deputy Prime Minister to accompany us to Ghana. We did business. We were successful. I have basically summarised my life of the last nine months, time enough for a child to be conceived and born.
It has not all been easy. I did not expect it to be. Life is like that. But it was never impossible. It has always been achievable. It feels good to count your successes.
I have been forced to change my lifestyle drastically; to split my commitments between work, family, business initiatives and my own personal relaxation. I am very fond of relaxing, I think sometimes I am very lazy. Its all part of the game.
Zimbabwe is in winter now and temperatures have plummetted to below ten degrees at night and no more than twenty during day. July will be worse, we expect temperatures below five degrees at night and no more than fifteen during day. And the winds will pick up, howling across our stone cold faces day and night. Already our power untility, ZESA, is facing a tremendous challenge to keep us supplied with power. Fortunately for me, because I stay in town, we rarely have power cuts.
The country itself has been shaping up, slowly but with visible signs of progress. I was away in Accra when we hosted Brazil. I dont think this would have been possible five years ago. We now use the US Dollar (mostly) as our currency. You can also interchangeably use the Rand, Pula, Pound or Euro. Politically we may have lost a part of our sovereighnity, but economically we have made a stride. Inflation is now at 4%, projected to close the year at 6%. Our GDP is still rather low, infact rather embarrasing. Our Finance Minister tells us we are likely to formally generate as a country only 1,6 Billion US Dollars. At peak we hovered around five to six Billion. its still a steep climb. Unemployment is subsiding, no one was sure of the figures anymore, but our industrial wheels are slowly turning again.
We now have food in all supermarkets and stores. We now have adequate fuel. One of the Country's major projects, the construction of Joina City ( a 24 storey building in Harare) was completed two months ago. I hear they now want to pull down one of our very first malls, Ximex Mall, and replace it with an even taller building. Karigamombe Centre, where my offices are on the 14th Floor, used to be the tallest building in 1986 when it was completed. And then came the Reserve Bank building with 24 Floors. then there was the Trust towers. I dont think we were on the wrong path. All the other buildings in harare average fifteen floors.
These are just but my ramblings. Iam still here, and alive