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… and his witless manoeuvres doomed to fail

CENTRAL bank governor Gideon Gono’s assertion that people should remain optimistic about the economy when the solution to the economic meltdown is nowhere in sight is surely misplaced and smacks of a governor who is at his wits’ end.

His remarks that it is often the last key on the bunch that opens the door speaks volumes of a desperate man who is now experimenting with a battered economy.

Telling us to be proud of Zimbabwean skills that are running other economies abroad when our own is in desperate need of such skills is an insult to our intelligence. It is surprising that the governor seems to be uncomfortable with criticism when it is him who has grown bigger than his job description of governor of the central bank.

How can he avoid scrutiny when through his overzealousness and technically deficient policies, he has shaken virtually every establishment in the country, albeit with no iota of improvement in the country’s economic conditions?

Perhaps a few pointers may help us better understand issues here. Since his appointment as governor of the central bank, we watched in trepidation as he closed financial institution after institution.

At the time, non-core activities and non-compliance with regulations were given as reasons for the closures, so we gave him the benefit of the doubt and waited.

However, what he and his team did not and still do not care or realise is that by closing those institutions because of a few bad apples at the top, they rendered many men and women in the downstream levels jobless.

Given our (Africans’) extended family culture, the governor and his team did not only put hundreds of people on the streets, but he deprived thousands of people of livelihoods.

With no government policy that has managed to attract meaningful foreign direct investment to establish factories or companies in order to lower unemployment levels, suggestions by some that some company/bank closures may have been motivated by vindictiveness, and perhaps settling of old scores, no longer appear to be far-fetched.

Through his desire to stamp out the black market, the governor is widely seen as one of Zanu PF’s architects of the ill-conceived Operation Murambatsvina which destroyed homes and the informal sector, leaving over 800 000 people homeless, penniless and in abject poverty.

That was a wicked policy with no human face at all! And this is the man who has the audacity to tell Zimbabweans to remain optimistic … my foot!

Positive mentality among the generality of Zimbabweans does not come easily when every day we are faced with shortages of basics, price increases and have no water or electricity, and are led by a solution-dry and inept government.

It is perhaps necessary to enlighten the governor that it is now common knowledge that the Zimbabwean economy’s two greatest enemies are, in order of severity:

* The Zanu PF government and

* Inflation.

The characteristics of the number one enemy are dictatorship, misguided foreign policy, inept economic polices, corruption and sheer incompetence.

The last two characteristics are a clear endowment of the Minister of Local Government. I won’t say much about the Minister of Agriculture as he is either almost non-existent or clueless.

The number two enemy, which is the governor’s fixation — inflation — remains a disease in the economy and cannot be cured singularly. Insatiable government expenditure and low capacity utilisation, both in agriculture and industry, and the lack of forex have clearly been the main causes of inflationary pressures and the meltdown.

It is my conviction that by defeating enemy number one the battle against enemy number two will certainty be decisively won!

In true fashion of a policy maker who is now bankrupt of ideas and solutions, the governor has resorted to creating scapegoats in the form of the so-called economic saboteurs for allegedly taking advantage of imbalances in the economy and abetting the black market.

Could the “guvnor” please tell me who in his/her right mind would change that ellusive greenback (US dollar) in a commercial bank at such a “sick” exchange rate when flogging it on the black market will result in more Zim dollars to put food on the table and to feed many mouths at home?

In fact, in our current economic quagmire, the black market has been the hero and the backbone for survival for the majority of Zimbabweans.

The parallel or black market did not just surface suddenly like a mushroom. It is nature’s way of balancing the economic food chain in an economy fraught with flawed and skewed policies.

Ever wondered why many people the world over have asked how we are managing to survive under these torrid economic conditions? The black market is the answer, period!

The governor’s new-found love of using security forces to buttress his battle with the so-called economic saboteurs is interesting as it shows that, for a supposed technocrat, he has stooped so low in order to cover up the failures of his concoction of monetary policies.

Some of these security forces have been drafted into the already bloated central bank structure and their sole purpose has been to intimidate, harass and even torture businesspeople for putting mark-ups on goods produced from raw materials whose purchase prices were already infected by the hyperinflation bug.

This obsession with militarising government institutions in a bid to solve flawed economic fundamentals is not only witless but doomed to miserably fail.

To label any Zimbabwean who refuses to be hoodwinked and intimidated by dictatorial authorities who openly lie in daily state newspapers as spineless is as gibberish as blaming our economic meltdown on sanctions.

Don Sahayi (Snr),


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