HARARE – Zimbabweans spend nights in bank queues. If they are lucky when the bank opens the next morning, they get $25 in “bond” coins.
A bond coin is supposed to be the same rate with the United States dollar, according to the Reserve Bank, but its true market value is something close to 0.46 cents.
For many Zimbabweans, the US dollar is gold dust. So, forgive their collective shock when $3,5 million lands on four wheels at the Robert Mugabe International Airport.
This Bugatti Veyron by Mansory Vivere Diamond Edition landed in Harare aboard a KLM cargo plane on Thursday and immediately sent tongues wagging.
It was a mixture of shock and outrage on social media. Who buys a car for that much in Zimbabwe? To drive it on which roads? Where did they get that much foreign currency?
“Bugatti Veyron spotted at Harare International Airport in the midst of the cash crisis. Upenyu hunosiyana shuwa,” @YungAfriKing said on Twitter.
“That’s ridiculous. Or appalling. Or stupid. Or arrogant,” Sara Rich Dorman also tweeted.
Nicole Beardsworth weighed in: “This is the level of disconnect between rich ZANU-linked elites and the state of the Zimbabwean economy. A Bugatti Veyron, on Harare’s potholed streets. In the midst of 90% unemployment. No shame.”
The supercar, manufactured at Bugatti’s megafactory in Molsheim, France, was the fourth most expensive car in 2017 and is one of the fastest road cars in the world.
Brutish, vulgar and unapologetic, this luxury machine has carbon fibre ‘Marble Collage’ effect bodywork that will divide opinion. It combines luxury and engineering. Its modified wings and shortened bonnet give it a stylised appearance. And it’s no sloth – who pays $3,5 million to hang around? This monster can do 0-160km/h in 5.5 seconds, hitting top speeds of 408 km/h.
So who owns it?
South African Twitter petrolheads @Motor_Magnet reveal that the car is only in Zimbabwe for registration and will be “on its way to South Africa next week”.
This will only be the second known Veyron in South Africa – but it will be a Zimbabwean car.
Motor Magnet explain: “Left Hand Drive car can’t be registered in SA. It will be registered in Zimbabwe and then brought in.”
Mean machine … The Bugatti Veyron’s ownership is the subject of speculation
The smart money is on controversial South African businessman Zunaid Moti – an associate of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa – being the owner. Moti is currently involved in chrome mining in Zimbabwe.
Duty on the car based on cost, insurance and freight value of $3,8 million would come in roughly at $2,2 million – if the owners do pay it.