In Zimbabwe there’s Versace, Polo, Tommy and Mugabe. Pres. Robert Mugabe, the 89-year-old president of the southern Africa country, has always had a special flare for fashion that served as the inspiration behind the Yedu Nesu owned clothing label.
The young company has created t-shirts, hats and other accessories based of the flamboyant militia style of the president. While they claim they had his blessing in the beginning, Mugabe did not show interest in having shares in the venture. But now the president and his party, the Zanu-PF, want a piece of the expanding pie.
“The main reason why the brand is so popular is that he is a highly intellectual leader,” Zanu-PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo told the BBC who did the report “But we want to control it to make sure whoever is going to use it will have to pay something. So we are going to restrict it as a party.”
The issue of intellectual property may be more than it appears on the surface, as the apparel appeals to a young demographic— not permeated by the aging Zanu-PF party. The majority of people supporting the party are in rural areas and tend to be older. With a stake in the company, the party can also obtain an alliance of younger, urban constituents.
“It’s an attempt to seduce the young, first-time voters who are believed to be almost a million – a very big number considering Zimbabwe’s voting population,” said the opposing parties spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka. “No amount of fashion labels will save him in the next election.”
Read more about the issue here.