PICTURES of Zimbabwe’s wealthy young elite, including the sons of fallen dictator Robert Mugabe, show the country’s economic woes haven’t affected everyone.
In fact, those among his inner circle and family appear to have enjoyed comfortable lifestyles while many of their countrymen went hungry.
Mugabe finally resigned today as the end of his 37-year rule which saw passionate celebrations erupt on the streets of the capital Harare.
Mugabe is believed to have built up a huge personal fortune from looting the nation’s diamond deposits and his inner-circle has flaunted their wealth.
His own sons Robert Jr, 25 and Chatunga Mugabe, 21 are renowned for revealing their luxury life on social media.
Zimbabwe’s First Lady has spent thousands on shipping trips and designer labels, earning her the nickname “Gucci Grace”.
The couple’s sons have shared pictures of themselves showing off expensive cars, watches, and fashion.
RICH AND SHAMELESS
Mugabe and his family have enjoyed immense personal wealth as his country battles a struggling economy.
The fallen dictator is reportedly worth more than $1 billion despite his country being one of the poorest in the world.
Zimbabwean media reports reveal part of his fortune came from Zimbabwe’s diamond deposits.
His lavish blue roof Harare compound has more than 25 bedrooms and the Mugabes have homes overseas including in Malaysia and Hong Kong.
They are also rumoured to own property in countries including Switzerland and the Channel Islands.
According to a 2001 US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, Mugabe has about $1.75 billion-worth of assets, mostly invested outside Zimbabwe.
The 93-year-old has repeatedly been accused of stealing from the country’s coffers and 15 acres of land during land seizures in the 90s and early 2000.
Jeffrey Smith, executive director of democracy group Vanguard Africa, told Time’s Money: “It’s long been suspected that Robert Mugabe, his family, and close associates have been dipping their hands into state coffers, or otherwise plundering Zimbabwe’s immense natural resource wealth for their own benefit.”
The family are also said to own several properties in Zimbabwe and the extravagant blue roof home is worth more than $9 million,The Citizenreported.
The property features “25 bedrooms, a large outdoor pool, two lakes, a massive dining room that can seat more than 30 guests, a large master bedroom with super kingsize bed and a multimillion-dollar radar system.”
His four-year-old son by his first wife, Ghanaian-born Sally Francesca Hayfron, died while he was behind bars in the 1970s.
First born child Bona Mugabe, 29, studied at the University of Hong Kong, where the family own property worth $6.6 million, Time reported. However it’s her younger brothers who have attracted the most criticism for their lavish lifestyles.
Bona’s husband Simba Chikore is the current chief operating officer at Air Zimbabwe and the couple have a young son.
However the Mugabe boys have not hidden their privileged lifestyle, even going so far as boasting of their luxury lives on social media.
Earlier this year the Mugabe’s youngest son, Bellarmine Chatunga, 21, posted a photograph of his watch with the caption: “$60,000 on the wrist when your daddy run the whole country ya know!!!”
A video later emerged of the 21-year-old dousing his watch with a $400 bottle of Armand de Brignac gold champagne.
In September this year, Grace’s eldest son Russell Goreraza, 33, imported two Rolls Royce limousines into the bankrupt country.
Robert Jr, has also posted pictures of boots he claimed are worth $17,000 and he reportedly has his own version of a car which resembles a Batmobile.
However it’s not just family who have been living the high life with associates of Mugabe also appearing on social media feeds with luxury goods.
Sidney Hambira Jr — the son of a businessman with links to Mugabe — is one associate who was seen posing with a bottle of champagne in a Jaguar.
His father Sidney Sr is one of the richest businessmen in the country with his firm securing many lucrative infrastructure contracts.
Zimbabwe’s richest ‘kid’ is Wicknell Chivayo — a controversial businessman with close ties to Mugabe’s family — with more than 75,000 followers on Instagram.
Chivayo buys custom-made cars saying they are able to accommodate his large frame according to The Sun.
“I fit comfortably, the seats are easily adjustable,” he said.
Businessman Genius Kadungure 33, flaunts his lavish lifestyle on social media which detail his spectacular parties to his 80,000 plus followers.
Meanwhile Ellen Vanessa Chironga and her sister Michelle are not strangers to the high life either.
The 28-year-olds are the daughters of property mogul and politician Philip Chiyangwa who is a nephew of Mugabe and is reportedly worth $270 million.
Mugabe’s wife and South African-born politician has been dubbed “Gucci Grace” for her expensive shopping trips and fashion while many across her country went hungry.
She had an affair with Mugabe that produced his first surviving children and married the president after his first wife died, the Associated Press reported.
The First Lady has faced mounting criticism for her expensive tastes, spending $131,000 during a shopping spree in Paris in 2003.
She reportedly owns a multimillion-dollar property portfolio.
Zimbabwe suffers from a disastrous economic and financial situation, despite being home to abundant mineral resources — platinum, gold, diamonds and nickel.
Once regarded as Africa’s bread basket, Zimbabwe’s agricultural production plummeted in the wake of the farm reforms and land distribution which saw farms seized from white owners.
In 2009 the government dumped the Zimbabwean dollar for the US dollar and the South African rand after the national currency collapsed, causing galloping inflation up to 500 billion per cent.
The land reform policy wrecked the crucial agricultural sector, caused foreign investors to flee and turned the bread basket of southern Africa into an economic basket case.
The crisis led to mass unemployment with nearly nine out of 10 of the active population out of work, the collapse of many public services and the increasing scarcity of cash.
First heralded as a liberator who rid the former British colony Rhodesia of white minority rule, Mugabe was soon cast in the role of a despot who crushed political dissent and ruined the national economy.
After years behind bars as a political prisoner, Mugabe then led a bloody liberation war, which coupled with sanctions, forced the Rhodesian government to the negotiating table. The country finally won independence as Zimbabwe in 1980.
However that quickly faded and critics say Mugabe clung to power through human rights abuses, crushing dissent and by rigging elections.
The tipping point came in February 2000 when his powers were weakened by the rejection, at a referendum, of a new draft constitution.
Mugabe began a process of expropriating farms from the white minority and giving the land to blacks, in a process that led to accusations of corruption and cronyism.
— with wires