Okay, let's start with some apologies for the silence the last few days. I plead busyness.
Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, has now announced that from tomorrow, Monday, October 13 2008, the maximum withdrawal limit will be Z$50 000 per day. Still woefully inadequate. Some African countries, although they have limits, make sure these are realistic. In Tanzania, for instance, the daily withdrawal limit is equivalent to more than US$300 per day at that country's most expensive exchange rate. Gono is fighting a losing battle. As of Friday, transport into town on commuter omnibuses was Z$5 000 each way. That's ten thousand already gone on just getting to and from work. Teacher's and other civil servants will now be earning Z$60 000 per month after recent salary reviews. You just have to laugh. You don't even need to do the maths.
The increase in withdrawal limits will temporarily see the exchange rate rise again. But this will be temporary because, as the title of this post suggests, Zimbabwe will now change forever. We are now closer to the inauguration of a new government. It should happen this coming week. Despite the theatrics we see now, Morgan Tsvangirai has put himself in a corner. He has already accepted government vehicles and bodyguards. At Munhumutapa the official offices of the president and prime minister, he has already specified what curtains, carpets, chairs etc he wants. He has locked himself in.
Last week, he was trying to engage MDC Mutambara to give the MDC-T faction the ministry of Trade and Industry (something like that), since he was embarrassed by the ministries he had agreed to already and wanted to save face.
The truth of the matter is that the coming of Mbeki will allow Morgan to capitulate without really losing face. He will most probably get the Ministry of Finance, but will not be able to fire Gideon Goon because that can only be done by the president, according to our constitution.
The dictatorship traits within Mr Tsvangirai will probably save this agreement. Whether his supporters like it or not, he will form a government with Robert Mugabe. He is hard-headed that way. Remember the split he cause in the party by refusing to compromise with the pro-senate faction? That is his way. He will go ahead and form this government whether the supporters like it or not.
So, by the week's end, we will have a government and Morgan will have his passport, which, apparently, Mugabe is holding on to at the moment. This is no exaggeration: the current illegal minister of Home Affairs confirmed to local newspapers that Morgan Tsvangirai will need to speak to Mugabe in order to have his passport back. The Registrar General's office told the MDC leader that, if he wanted his passport back, he needed to speak to President Mugabe.
So, apparently, Mugabe is walking around with Morgan Tsvangirai's passport in his back pocket!!
Thabo Mbeki arrives on Monday and I expect that by Wednesday, we will have a deal.
Meantime, Simba Makoni will hold a press conference at the Crowne Plaza on Monday, as well, at 3 p. m. One wonders what it is all about. He has been touted as a possible minister of Finance, although those close to him say he is not keen to sully his reputation by taking part in this "Inclusive Government". He believes in small government, according to his previous pronouncements and his aides say that he would not be willing to take part in the large government that is now being formed. It is bigger than the government of the UK, which is a country a vastly larger population and greater wealth than Zimbabwe.
By the following week, we should get an idea of who is giving Zimbabwe money to resuscitate the economy. SADC has made promises, as has the UK and America, who are waiting for the government to be constituted before making final pronouncements on the matter.
The UNDP has already issued a book on the way forward for Zimbabwe, what needs to be done, what the priorities are and how to swiftly stabilise the currency and the economy. Our businesses, by this time, will have no need to seek foreign currency on the black market.
Tomorrow is another day, another post.