Shock and Awe: The Zimbabwe Edition

The Telegraph headline screams “Zimbabwe dollar dead, says top economist.” “Zimbabwe Implosion,” says another headline from The Zimbabwean which also reports that the news from Zimbabwe is increasingly grim. “Collapsing infrastructure, hyperinflation, cholera, the world’s highest HIV/Aids rate, a diaspora of refugees, and high unemployment are all signs of a country in ruins.”

FCO blogger in Harare Grace Mutandwa writes:

A few days ago in a monetary policy statement, Gono revalued the Zimbabwean dollar by removing 12 zeroes. A Z$100 trillion note, which was the highest note in circulation, is now Z$100. We have also now been told that Z$20 trillion (now Z$20) is now equivalent to US$1 and Z$2 trillion (Z$2) is now the same value as one South African Rand […] Everything is now sold in foreign currency. People who only six months ago lived very well of US$100 sent by relatives in the diaspora, now struggle to make ends meet. Zimbabweans have managed to devalue the American and British pound so much that now a US$100 does not go very far. Food is over-priced so are rentals and school fees.

Amidst all this is — some shock and awe, the Zimbabwe edition. Martin Fletcher writing for the Times Online reports on an upcoming lavish one-day celebration for Fruitcake Bob’s 85th birthday. “[…] the zealots of his Zanu (PF) party are determined that it should be an occasion that their great leader will never forget.”

“It’s an important day for Zimbabweans to celebrate the life of our great leader and Africa’s hero,” he said. “Zanu (PF) continues to receive massive donations from the corporate world, ordinary Zimbabweans and from people from all walks of life and we are confident that this year’s celebrations will be the best.”

Wow! Great idea – arm twisting and aggressive shake downs are acceptable especially if you simply give them quaint names like “donations,” or “contributions.” How about “alms” to aid the “poor?”

And so while Zimbabwe falls apart, here is the Birthday list to die for:

  • 2,000 bottles of champagne — Moët & Chandon and ’61 Bollinger
  • 500 bottles of whisky — Johnny Walker Blue Label, 22-year-old Chivas
  • 8,000 lobsters
  • 100kg king prawns
  • 3,000 ducks
  • 4,000 portions of caviar
  • 8,000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher
  • 16,000 eggs
  • 3,000 cakes — chocolate and vanilla
  • 4,000 packs of pork sausages
  • 500kg cheese
  • 4,000 packets of crackers

My. Oh. My! Would I go to hell if I wish for one live lobster to bite Bob’s nose? Never mind that – yes, I do wish!

The Johnnie Walker Blue Label (“the most acclaimed and exclusive Scotch Whisky in the world”) alone costs about $250 a bottle. And please tell these guys – Chivas Regal does not have a 22 but there is a 21 at $150 a pop. But hey — why skimp? The better alternative is the Chivas 25 at only $270 a bottle – that’ll be quite a bargain, really — especially if you buy a couple hundred bottles.

Let’s see — for the Moët & Chandon champagne, you can get the Dom Perignon @ $170-$300+ (depending on the vintage). The 1961 Bollinger might be a problem though since it appears to be a rare vintage (some James Bond wanne-bes there, eh?). But I’m sure folks with money have a way around that; it’s not like they’re eating a slice of bread and water once a day, right?

These folks my friends, are aliens from Jupiter!