Yesterday, rumours were flying thick and fast in Harare that an announcement of the brand new inclusive cabinet would be made either last night or this morning.
It is now evening and there is no such announcement. With breathtaking arrogance, the only daily sources of news, the government controlled daily papers and the television station ZTV both pretended that there was nothing amiss. They talk about a lot of nonsense and ignore this one important factor.
There is no doubt that the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe now can be directly attributed to the failure by Morgan and Bob to agree on a cabinet. The moment they do and the announcement is made, the US dollar will plummet against the Zimbabwe dollar. And prices of goods and services will follow chop chop.
Remember that when it was announced that an agreement had been reached, the US dollar lost half its value against the Zim dollar in the space of a week.
I therefore fail to understand the cruelty of our leaders, who are content to argue and bicker while inflation is now running at about 25% per day. There will be no end in sight until that government is agreed on and announced.
The reason for this unnecessary impasse is that Mugabe is afraid. He knows full well what happened when the deal was announced. The Zim dollar did not just stabilise against major foreign currencies: it positively galloped, gaining ground rapidly. This translated into confidence in Morgan Tsvangirai. If things had moved at a more civilised pace and a government had been announced within a week, as had been promised, then the fall would have continued. In the end, the credit would have been all Tsvangirai's.
Please understand this: Mugabe does not want this economy to improve if, in doing so, the credit goes to Morgan. The people will simply say that what the old man failed to achieve in 10 years, Morgan has managed within weeks or, at most, months. This will inevitably lead to people saying to each other that Morgan therefore is capable of running this economy better than Bob. ZANU PF certainly can not have that. So, rather kill the whole thing than see credit for improving the economy and people's lives go to Tsvangirai and the MDC.
We are now back to the despondency prior to the signing of the deal between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. The stock market is going bonkers, rising of its own accord with no reference to fundamentals. Prices have doubled just this week. The payment system has broken down. Shops, especially the smaller outlets like pharmacies, are all pretending that their swipe machines (which allow people to pay for their purchases by swiping a credit or debit card) have broken down. The only payment method available is cash.
We all know why they are demanding cash. Withdrawals at the banks have been limited to Z$20 000 per day per individual account mostly because the Central Bank has run out paper on which to print currency. Those buying foreign currency (US dollars and rands mostly), now use cheques. The price for a single US dollar when you are buying it using a cheque is currently between Z$2 000 000 (2 million Zim dollars) and Z$2 500 000 (two million five hundred thousand dollars)
If you buy the same US dollar using cash, however, today's rate was between Z$7 000 (seven thousand Zim dollars) and Z$8 000 (eight thousand Zim dollars). You can see why the shops are demanding cash. They take the cash, use it to buy US dollars at these ridiculously low rates and then sell the same US dollars on to people and businesses who do not have Zim dollars cash at the cheque prices, which are obscenely higher as explained above.
So, when you hear people opposed to this deal between Morgan and Bob speak, look carefully at where they are standing. It might be that they are afraid that their cash cows are about to be smashed like porcelain piggy banks. They are afraid of the success of this deal, because it will mean the end of their wealth. Meantime, it is the people, the man in the street, who bears the burden of eincriching these few pot-bellied Vietnamese (or should that be Zimbabwan) pigs.
Till tomorrow then.