IT is annus horribilis (a bad year) for all the saboteurs of Zimbabwe’s economy. They can now consider their filthy lucre as “garden manure”, according to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono’s stock saying.
align=justify>Little wonder they were hoarding trillions of bearer cheques within and without our borders. Besides our phantom enemies in the occident, these local men and women are therefore the enemies within Zimbabwe, the real McCoys and therefore the enemy of both the people and the state — I mean body politic.
It is not a surprise that most of these culprits are people entrusted with authority by the president to help him deliver his election promises to the nation, but they nevertheless think that the common man is an indentured slave who must be exploited and milked of his hard-earned Zimbabwe dollars. Thus in their minds Zimbabweans are an expendable citizenry.
It is a pity that when the RBZ governor tries to rescue the entire nation, the chosen few feel shortchanged. I do not get it: who is suffering here when the man in the street is menaced by incessant price increases, pitiable salaries and he cannot get the support that he greatly needs from people he elected to office — who have misread the word “running” the country for “ruining” the country?
These saboteurs of our economy are immune to despair and they really ought to keep themselves in their business of speculation, unwarranted price hikes, foreign currency deals and money laundering.
Take for example a 750g Key Blue laundry soap bar that was being sold for $460 000 on the August 1 as Gono was striking off three zeros on the old currency. Instead of doing the same when converting to the new currency, shop owners saw a lacuna to increase the price with $680 as the new price for the same item.
This was done to prove to Gono that the new currency is nors de combat. It cannot buy anything in Zimbabwe. I profoundly feel they may have a point because our government has no political and moral will to deal with producers and traders alike.
It is highly commendable that the RBZ has set up a price monitoring team of 320 officers to put in check these dubious people who often cook up unpatriotic price hikes.
Allow me to suggest to both government and RBZ officials to look into issuing food coupons to employees by starting a pilot project with civil servants and council workers.
The food coupons must have a list of basic foodstuffs like mealie-meal, sugar, cooking oil and flour — all with government-stipulated prices. This pilot project of food coupons can help government to remove loopholes while distributing foodstuffs through reputable supermarkets such as TM, OK, Food World, Friendly and Gustai.
We can consult our neighbours in Zambia on the modalities of implementing the food coupons, which they did them during the Kenneth Kaunda era.
The next step will be to cater for all sectors of our society. If we are serious about a turnaround we need a bitter pill like this one, even though certain sectors of our society may call us a nanny state.
Gono alone cannot make it; we need to work together as a nation.
Meanwhile I must hasten to thank him for a sterling job and suggest that he reconsiders the 21 days conversion period because he has so far been magnanimous to saboteurs to the disadvantage of the poor.
The period is far too long and should be reduced to even 10 days and let the cash hoarders learn a thing or two about money: that you cannot hoard it like sugar let alone export it like tomatoes to South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi and Mozambique.
Also the bearer cheques must all be collected back to the RBZ by the stipulated expiry date by which time fresh cheques will be issued. This will obviate the incidence of hoarding of large sums of money.
Lastly, the statement of the obvious is that the taste of pudding is in the eating. Most people who have experienced the day-to-day hardships of the middle and lower classes will support every effort for the betterment of their lives.
Please go ahead and make our day son of the soil.