Another Day, Another Ban and The Death Of Democracy In Zimbabwe

The Reserve Bank banned the last remaining loophole in the illegal sale of foreign currency today. My previous post reported that, although the central bank had banned or "suspended until further notice" electronic transfers of money between individual accounts at different banks, internal transfers (transfers of funds between individual and company accounts housed within the same bank) were still legal.

Now the governor has banned that as well. Desperately seeking to paint himself as the Governator, Gono is hoping that this latest move will spell an end to the illegal dealings in foreign currency. He seems not to understand that the political settlement he has been begging for is the root cause of this evil. The market no longer has confidence in the life of this proposed deal between ZANU PF and the MDC.

The madness we see now is all down to the failure to implement the agreement. Gono's efforts are therefore misdirected. He should be telling his boss, Mugabe, that there needs to be agreement with the MDC pronto. That will stabilise the situation for perhaps six months. Even then, the truth of the matter is that there is no long-term future for this Frankenstein's Monster with the head of ZANU PF and the body of MDC. Still, implementing the agreement will give Zimbabweans breathing space.

Speaking of the future, with the rain season at hand, there is no seed or fertiliser in the country. It means April 2009 will see no meaningful harvest in Zimbabwe. Mugabe and his so-called ministers of Agriculture (there are at least three of them dealing with this department) have known since January that the country will need these inputs, yet they are now so distracted by the power games they are playing with the MDC that they have forgotten that there is a future out there waiting for the country.

Perhaps it is because ZANU PF has never been able to multi-task. They can not chew gum and walk at the same time.

In the end, an agreement will be reached and a government will be formed. But this will be a poisoned chalice being handed over to the MDC. They will live with the failure until April 2010, which is the only date left now at which a harvest can be got out of Zimbabwe's farming sector. The focus on power is sidelining all these plans and it means that the final agreement, when it does get implemented, will certainly be moot. Western donors have given notice that they will not be helping Zimbabwe with funds any time soon. Yet every single person in Zimbabwe says the same thing, and here I quote the common saying in Zimbabwe: "Tsvangirai holds the key. The moment he becomes Prime Minister, everything will come right."

What this means is that MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai are basically digging their own grave with this deal. In a year's time, with no donor money to bail out Zimbabwe, inflation still biting, foreign currency shortages still acute and power cuts galore, the people will start blaming Morgan and his crew as well as Mugabe. The net result will be a return to the late 80s and early 90s mentality in Zimbabwe: total distrust of politics. The net result will be the death of democracy in Zimbabwe.

This will happen. And it will only be a year before it does.


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