Zimbabwe Is Still Not Working

The profiteering in Zimbabwe has reached alarming levels, I tell you.

This last week, I received a foreign cheque in US dollars and duly went to Barclays Bank to deposit it in my new foreign currency account, which they had helpfully automatically opened for me because I am a long-standing customer.

Imagine my shock on Monday when my branch called me to tell me that bank charges for clearing this cheque were US$109.

I know that in Kenya, where I have made enquiries, the very same cheque, from the very same company, is cleared for US$20. In South Africa, the charges are even less than that.

Meantime, instead of supervising Zimbabwean banks that are doing this, Gideon Gono is busy fighting political battles? Can he explain how it is that the very same cheque, cleared by a neighbouring country through the very same process and the very same international bank, costs five times less in a neighbouring country than it does in Zimbabwe?

The problem goes back to politics. The MDC-T president is supposed to be in charge of policy formulation and implementation.

Are these the sort of policies he is implementing?

Does he realise that these policies make Zimbabwe an unattractive destination for investment? Is he willing (or even able) to do anything about this?

This sort of thing is simply unacceptable for a country that is trying to attract investment in this tough global environment.

But the problem is that the MDC-T believes that it is special and the world should genuflect before them without regard to any other factors.

Basic commodities are more affordable now in Zimbabwe, but only because Mugabe scrapped duty on imports of these. Local businesses are up in arms, because they prefer to have a captive market, where they can charge as they see fit, milking helpless and defenceless workers with punitive prices.

Tsvangirai and the MDC appear willing to accommodate local business demands for protectionism.

It would be disastrous to do so.

Our local businesses live beyond their means and they hanker for the old days, when they made super profits even in US dollar terms. This should not be allowed.


It would kill Zimbabwe.

And this Inclusive Government can forget about attracting tourists here in 2010 with these sorts of skewed pricing policies. Why should they come here to pay through the nose for a crumbling infrastructure and abysmal service?

As usual, you can expect that none of this will change.

The focus at the moment is wrong: the focus is power. Can anyone tell me of a single initiative this inclusive government has made since it was formed?

Just one.


  1. Hi Denford.
    The only other time i talked to you we were discussing price monitoring (you preferred to call it price control) on the Chamisa directive to the telecoms industry. I dont make political arguments cos i dont feel qualified or knowledgeable enough.
    Anyway, I don't really have an argument to make. I just want to agree with you and hope you now realise where i was coming from. I agree these guys are profiteering. We may not see a policy that reduces company profits any time soon from this broke government irikutsvaga mari nedemo. Profiteering business means more revenue for the government and more luxury for those in goverment.
    Shame on African politics.


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