Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Plunders Private Foreign Currency Accounts
Its back to a familiar theme. Today, the big-hitters, the big companies and big men with the funds managed to drive the Zim dollar to $5 trillion per US dollar (if buying the US Dollar using a cheque). It is a tired old song now, but one worth updating. The figures, though meaningless to the outsider, are very meaningful to the people of Zimbabwe, since there is now virtually no shop in town still accepting Zim dollars. That is on the one hand. On the other, less than 1% of the small number of people currently employed earn above a million Zim dollars a month. Then of course, there is the fact that Gideon Gono only allows depositors to withdraw $50 000 per day..... you can see where this is going.
There is no such thing as a middle class in Zimbabwe anymore. There isn't even a lower class. Everybody is now living on less than a dollar a day, the most commonly used form of determining poverty all over the world. The only hope people have left lies in the Inclusive government that Mugabe and Tsvangirai are taking their time to form.
But there is now a new twist. The world now knows what we have known all along: the Global Fund For AIDS had its bank account in Zimbabwe raided and looted, they say, by Fagan the Governor and they still haven't got their US$7 million chakuti back. They are crying foul, as can be expected.
Those of us who live in Zimbabwe could have told a million similar stories. We know of stories that, in the run-up to the March elections, the Reserve Bank went into private foreign-denominated accounts and took out whatever they wanted in order to finance that election. What loose change they left in there, they came back for in order to finance the June 27 presidential poll run-off.
This is why Simba Makoni was very vocal in calling for that run-off to be cancelled. There simply was no money left in the country to finance such a massive undertaking. You will still find stories on the internet entitled: "Country Can't Afford Run-off - Makoni" to this day. Read them. You will be forgiven for weeping. As happens with all of Makoni's ideas, know-nothings shoot them down only to pick them back up again when they think noone is looking. We always wake up to the sense of his message long after the fact and then try to close the stable door after the horses have bolted. Witness the Government of National Unity........the man has been both right and sensible on so many occasions it would be a bore to repeat them here.
Meantime, if Tsvangirai thinks that he has got Mugabe by the short and curlies (see picture), as some of his more excitable supporters are suggesting, he has another think coming. Mugabe, by being invited to the swearing-in of the new Zambian president, was basically being recognised by SADC as the legitimate Head of State in Zimbabwe. Kikwete, the Tanzanian president and Chairman of the African Union, was also on hand to welcome Rupiah Banda (see post below) into the club of African strongmen. It's extremely unlikely that any sort of pressure will be brought to bear on The Moustachied One.
Second, it is now virtually certain that both SADC and the African Union will not entertain any suggestions, hints or pressure to escalate the Zimbabwe issue to the United Nations. This is significant. Because therein lay the hopes of not only the MDC but also the rest of the Zimbabwean population, including certain illegal ministers. Bottom line: Morgan either takes whatever Bob decides to give him or he sits this one out. If he chooses the later, he himself also knows that there will be no new elections. No lifeline. No escape clause. We are stuck with Mugabe for the next five years whether we like or not and there will be nothing anybody can do about it. That, unfortunately, will be the death of Zimbabwe.
Which brings us to the burning issue debated by countless voices on this blog: Mavambo quickly forming a political party. People are distratcted at the moment trying to simply live. It would be counter-productive for Makoni to rush the process of forming the party for this reason alone if no other. There is no appetite for politics in the country at the moment. Should there be clarity on whether there will be a GNU or not, then the way forward will be crystal clear for Makoni. Rushing to form a party is a guarantee that the new party will be lost in the preoccupations of people at the moment: trying to find food, trying to keep themselves from
dying of hunger.
There is no clear, fierce urgency of now as there was in February when the former Finance minister announced he was running against Mugabe. It is enough for now that he has made his intentions known. Let the party develop at a natural but ordered pace. Hurrying it along as others are recommending now would be counterproductive, messy at best and catastrophic at best.
It is called hurry-up-and-wait. It is as clear as day.
This week will be interesting, with yet another non-event masquerading as a summit on Zimbabwe taking place. It is likely to be held in South Africa and Tsvangirai has now publicly announced that he will attend "with or without a passport."
I know of nobody who is holding his or her breath on account of this travesty that is about to befall us at the behest of SADC. And, by the way, Gono announced yesterday that he is going to bring out
a new $1 million note this week. It seems even he has also lost hope!
Now you can breath out.