How Did Zimbabwe End Up with Just $217 in the Bank?

Last week, the Zimbabwean government announced that after paying public workers’ salaries, its bank balance is sitting at a pitiful $217. TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN DOLLARS. I once found $200 on the floor of a gas station. If I’d known that made me richer than a country, I wouldn’t have been so bummed out about having to spend it all on tax debts.

The information came from Finance Minister Tendai Biti who—as far as politicians in Zimbabwe go—is about as honest as it gets. Biti is the Secretary General of the MDC party—the good guys who’ve spent their entire existence being hurled off the edges of cliffs and dangled from helicopters by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF. Back in 2008, their party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, made a deal with the devil and agreed to share power with Mugabe. As Zimbabwe’s new Finance Minister, poor Biti was dropped right in the steaming pile of shit that continues to double as the country’s bank vault.



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