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Biography of Simbarashe Herbert Stanley MAKONI

Zimbabwe > Politics : Simbarashe Herbert Stanley MAKONI

Simbarashe Herbert Stanley MAKONI
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Born on 22/03/1950 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Simbarashe Herbert Stanley Makoni or Simba Makoni (b. March 22,1950) , is a Zimbabawean politician  and a wealthy businessman.As a former Finance Minister, he was also Governor for Zimbabwe of the ADB (Africa Development Bank)

He was a science undergraduate at the University of Rhodesia in 1973 when he was expelled for taking part in a rowdy anti-government demonstration, and left for Britain, where he he became a leading exiled activist for Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

In 1978 he received his doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry at Leicester Polytechnic College.

He returned to Zimbabwe at independence in 1980, and became Mugabe's youngest minister, aged 30. From 1984 to 1993 he served as executive secretary of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community.

After a few years at a state newspaper and in the private sector, he returned to government as an MP in 2000, and was appointed finance minister.

He resigned after Mugabe refused his advice to devalue the currency. Mugabe then denounced him as an 'economic saboteur.'

Makoni was a member of Zanu-PF's politburo, the party's inner circle, when he declared, in a surprise move, that the country's economic and social chaos was a result of the 'failure of leadership' and declared he would be standing for the presidency.

Makoni's declaration that his decision had been taken after widespread consultation with party members threw Zanu-PF into confusion, with Mugabe suddenly unsure of whom was tacitly backing Makoni.

But over the course of his short campaign, which attracted less funding and appeared less organized than that of Mugabe's other main rival, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement Democratic Change, Makoni failed to produce the Zanu-PF big guns, as promised.

Former home affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa, a popular veteran of the 1972-1979 independence war, was the only big name to openly rally to his side.

Mugabe has labelled Makoni a 'prostitute' of Western powers, while his rival, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai dismisses him as 'old wine in an new bottle.'

An opinion poll by the respected local Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI), gave him only 9 per cent of the vote against 28 per cent for Tsvangirai and 20 per cent for Mugabe.

That poll was, however, skewed by a heavy 24 per cent of people refusing to divulge their choice.

Makoni has promised he will 'get Zimbabwe working again' and re-engage with the international community.

He has also reassured Mugabe that he would not institute a witch-hunt against his former mentor, while saying the president would be treated like any ordinary Zimbabwean in the eyes of the law.

His supporters are attracted to among others things, the absence of any corruption or violence in his background, compared with other senior officials and his educational attainments.

A Zimbabwean nurse living in Johannesburg said she liked Makoni 'because he is educated, unlike (former labour leader) Tsvangirai.'

However, his failure to have spoken out against Mugabe during the last eight years of repression have dented his credibility and sown suspicion among many opposition supporters about his motives - some even claiming he has been fielded by Mugabe to divide the opposition vote.

Makoni and his wife, Chipo, had four sons, one of whom was killed in a motor accident in South Africa.

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Last update : 02/14/2008

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