Why the ‘Zim to manufacture own car model’ news must not be taken seriously

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You might have read today in the government owned daily that “Zimbabwe is to manufacture own car model” in the near future. Usually we would just move on, but this being a headline story in the country’s largest newspapers calls for a take on it. We think this shouldn’t be taken seriously at all. It’s the usual effort to offer some news of hope in these pretty damp times.

Here are some excerpts from the report:

Zimbabwe will soon design and manufacture its own car model which it envisages to export to other African countries and has since engaged an Italian firm to spearhead the project. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Harare yesterday between the Government and the Italian firm El Badaoui Group on the cooperation to come up with the car model.

El Badaoui Group president Mr Georges El Badaoui, who is also the Zimbabwean Honorary Consulate General in Milan, has since visited Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries to assess the infrastructure in place.

Usually innovation doesn’t start with MoUs. It starts with actual work on the ground. MoUs with government come later where there’s need to access the market if at all. It would make sense if such a car (really, the technology, coz what use is there trying to remake the same stuff Toyota makes – might as well invite Toyota to build a plant here that exports to the region) car had been designed already and is this was about market access and protection from indigenisation sharks. But to start signing papers before any work on the ground is done? Innovation at the pace of government (any government really) is a sure way to not innovate.


And said the Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha who signed the MoU for Zimbabwe:

“Mr El Badaoui visited Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries to assess the infrastructure currently in place. We are still working on the logistics of where the plant will be located and which institutions will be involved. Our thrust was to first come up with a framework, a process we have already done”

And then:

… Plans are also afoot to establish a food outlet to prepare food for exhibition at the Milan Expo. Burgers made from Zimbabwean crocodile meat, zebra burger and baobab fruit juice attracted a lot of attention at the just-ended Milan Expo where people queued to buy them.

How we moved quickly from hi-tech car design and manufacturing to a single zebra burger outlet is nothing short of remarkable. In a bright future to come soon, an obscure Italian company (that’s into cosmetics and dining with diplomats – see below) will help us design, make and export cars into Africa and while we’re at it, open one zebra burger joint.

Yup, they’ll do it for us. We actually don’t need to do much ourselves. We just have to identify “which institutions will be involved”, which by the way is government speak for more government guys to be invited to the party, or, at best, private tenderpreneur types. And government defaulting to the idea of some guys in Europe holding the keys to Zimbabwe’s innovation? Embarrassing.

And then finally, from the Italian guy who named his company after himself and his brother:

“We will make a huge investment, but first we must focus on innovation. We must first see what can be done before talking about figures. Of course, we will channel funds into the country. Zimbabwe is endowed with a lot of natural resources. What is needed is the right idea to process them at a low cost.”

To understand what kind of company the El Badaoui Group is, you have to look at its website. Their business apparently is “creation and promotion of innovative Brands, including their own brands, specializing in Luxury products, original and without competitors.” The guys make cosmetics, food products and apparently also do “International P.R”. The PR bit gives you a sense of what today’s car manufacture news is about.

And if you check out what El Badaoui’s been up to so far, out of their 10 most recent updates in their news section, 8 have the Badaouis posing for photos with diplomats especially from Africa. Especially from Zimbabwe. This is not a technology company. They work with diplomats to do whatever those that like working with African politicians do.

What I don’t get is why these announcements have to be made in first place, and why they have to be headlines of the most read daily in the country. Is it that Zimbabwe are just supposed to be filled with hope for a bright car-exporting future that awaits? Or are these ministers so down a path they can’t tell anymore the signal from the noise, so they just roll with whatever and whoever, promising Zimbabweans stuff that’s in the future.

To be clear though, how such news still makes headlines speaks more about us who are expected to read and hope, than those that utter & write the stuff. They are doing what they’ve done for decades. We on the other hand are doing our part dutifully; listening and hoping.


  1. tinm@n says:

    “El Badaoui Group president Mr Georges El Badaoui, who is also the Zimbabwean Honorary Consulate General in Milan”

    Enough said.

  2. Nyatimhenyu says:

    how will they handle the itochu shareholding ?

  3. Bob burger says:

    Nyaya yanga yagara iri yema burger engwena. Zvemota kwaa kuri kuti zvityise…
    Prof Moyo vakatombo mataura ma burger aya pa twitter

    1. caporegime simone il dottore says:

      The burger bit is the only part that made the news on Italian news sites

  4. justin says:

    Our Gvt is all about headlines not actions. From corruption to zimasset to jobs. All talk and headlines

  5. justin says:

    In 1980, someone was suppose to tell use that teachers belong to school classrooms….

  6. Zaniest says:

    Hahhahahaha, I just love your cynicism when u write kabweza

  7. TawTsvenz says:

    Hahahaha I love this piece. Really exposes how gullible those who must not be named expect us to be.

  8. Varayidzo says:

    Ayas these are just dreams, to waste ink printing such…. only in Zim

  9. theoathkeeper says:

    Bob burger ? wandispaka kikikikiki

  10. Net Neutrality says:

    Thats insane.. Government wants to build a car when they cant put standard specs laptops in their offices.

  11. ch ris mb eri says:

    LSMK you’ve brought out something I’ve been failing to express for a very long time. People are what they consume and the content of our national daily papers speak volumes of who we are and why we find ourselves in the position we are in right now. I don’t know why our papers prefer prosperity gospel instead of educating the nation for growth. Zimbabwe is busy reading tabloids while the country burns. What do you expect from a company that owns HMetro, BMetro etc busy demoralizing, shaming and spreading superstition. Our character as a country has gone to the dogs.

  12. Sinclair says:

    Propaganda dreams just as all the “new powerplants” that are thoroughly stuck in red tape. Over the years I think I read about the Zimbabwe made car at least 3-4 times

  13. macd chip says:

    Every minister in Zim wants to make headlines, they want to be seen as doing something hence there is always announcements everyday. This extends to opposition as well.

    So in general its a Zim disease, we have loud mouths and zero action, very lazy and daylight dreamers. This makes everyone gullible and open to every strange suggestions.

  14. Brian says:

    Didn’t look at it in that light thanks for the details and dissecting of the story. The countries leadership is all over eating travel allowances to sign for nothing and continue with empty promises to the multitudes of Zimbabweans hungry for a leadership geared for the people.

  15. Me says:

    it is true they say that the people will always get the leadership they deserve. What do you expect from Zimbabweans, who, according to all reputable polls, would vote for Bob if elections were to be held tomorrow. They are so gullible that their rulers now take them for granted knowing fully well that Zimbos are ignorant cowards and pacifists. This is why such articles are published and you would find people actually believing this crap. Tomorrow Zimbabwe will be making a new type of wheel after having reinvented it lol

    1. Anonymous says:

      Zimbos are gullible and apathetic thanks to all of us in the diaspora. The guys in Zim do not have to question why a ZESA bill is $800 per month, because they know someone a phone call away who is working his/ her “butt” (excuse my French) off will send money for that need to be met. You just have to observe the behaviour of our youth who have relatives in the diaspora how they behave. The girls frequent hair salons more than we can ever imagine. Worry or concern about their future is your (our) problem. This is ZANU’s captive audience for the above propaganda article. For thirty plus years they have been brain washed with this kind of propaganda and the feast on it,

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for always calling out these lunatics who make a lot of noise about nothing while stealing public funds. I presume the same paper went about shouting something about a guy called Dangote. It is precisely when people are desperate that they start making everything big news when its actually nothing but hot air.

  17. mike jim says:

    I am sick and tired working in south Africa leaveing my kids we need your jobs back in zim lets change guys

  18. fact says:

    The headline should have read Zim burgers a hit in Milan, kwete zvemota zvavakuda kutinyepera

    1. Eliphas says:

      And how is a burger with meat from Zim in Milan a Zim burger? When you eat a chicken burger at KFC in Harare made from chicken breasts imported from Brazil, does that make the burger a Brazilian burger? If the burger is made in Milan what makes it a Zim burger? THis is the kind of idiocy that LSM is writing about.

      1. lion says:

        zim burger in milan kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk hauite

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