A Laptop for Your Vote

This could get quite expensive, even for a rich dictator. Too bad the people will not be able to use them without electricity:

President Robert Mugabe is campaigning across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe accompanied by three Air Force helicopters packed with more than 100 million US dollars worth of state-of-the-art Hewlett Packard laptop computers.

Depending on the size of the community, the president doles out between ten and one hundred computers at each stop on the election trail.

Schools are the main beneficiaries – many of which have been without electricity, textbooks and even roofs for many years.

The money to buy the computers – enough to have imported nearly a million tonnes of staple maize for a country experiencing widespread crop failure and hunger – and to fuel the helicopters has come from state coffers in a clear violation of electoral rules forbidding competing parties from using government funds to contest elections.

The elections are expected to go well for the Mugabe camp since they “cherry picked” the international observers.

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