CAN you believe the foolishness of Zanu PF leaders who want to interfere with a successful monetary system and create havoc by adding to it a currency that is not used locally or internationally?
Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who is not known for her grasp of economic issues, was speaking to party delegates from Mashonaland West last weekend. She said it would be logical to include the Chinese yuan in Zimbabwe’s currency pool given Zimbabwe’s “Look East” policy and growing trade ties. This would ultimately see the country having a “sovereign national currency”, she said.
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” the expression goes. Zanu PF has a habit of grabbing hold of anything that works and making a complete mess of it. The disaster surrounding commercial agriculture is a prime example. The state is still busy pretending the land reform policy has been a success when all the evidence suggests it has witnessed a collapse in output.
A recent FAO/WFP report states that “nationally maize yields decreased to 0,75 tonnes/hectare from 0,82 tonnes/hectare recorded last season.
“Yields decreased in all farming sectors with the exception of commercial farms which recorded an increase of over 6% over the previous season,” the report said.
The “Look East” policy may be a bright idea but Zimbabwe’s trade with China is a fraction of China’s trade with Europe or the US.
This isn’t the only example of looking east that has proved illusory. Does anybody remember the flirtation with Malaysia and the president’s south/south exhortations regarding Hwange? What happened to that scheme?
The adoption of the US dollar last year saved Zimbabwe’s economy just as it was on the ropes. It provided stability and predictability. But immediately we heard Mugabe suggesting a return to the Zimdollar — something that would have proved disastrous.
Now Mujuru is saying much the same thing.
The Chinese are showing no inclination to depart from the greenback in terms of their own currency holdings. Indeed, their trade with the US is booming. Why should Zimbabwe vitiate a system that has served the country so well on the grounds of a spurious policy that has so far seen limited returns?
Zanu PF likes to tell us of China’s success story. But it omits to mention that success operates on a firm basis of trade and investment with the developed world. You never hear specious economic pronouncements of the Zanu PF variety in China itself.
Mujuru’s remarks were greeted with “wild applause” by the party faithful, we are told.
We don’t doubt it. Anything ruinous to the economy is greeted with “wild applause” by those losers!
By the way, what happened to Kondozi Estate and to the Mazoe plantations? Surely crude grabs of that sort should have some dividend to show? Instead ministers just made off with the hardware. Now they are contemplating a return to the currency they undermined.
The last thing Zimbabwe needs right now is a “sovereign national currency” administered by Zanu PF. What it needs is stability.
We were amused to note that Zanu PF columnists are referring to the MDC’s 2008 election victory as a “fluke”.
It’s amazing isn’t it that when even the party’s top brass acknowledges the extent of their losses the Munhumutapa mind-control department is in denial. It was all a plot you see!
Can its managers not see the pattern of events in 2000, 2002, and 2008 when the post-liberation aristocracy went down to defeat like the French chivalry at Agincourt.
We cannot forget how ZBC attributed Zanu PF’s referendum defeat in 2000 to whites exercising the vote. It would have been funny were it not so ridiculous.
Any examination of the electoral outcomes for the period 2000-2008 will show Zanu PF as a party in decline. In 2000 the MDC won unambiguously in the urban centres. In 2008 it penetrated many rural centres. The prospects of Zanu PF winning back any of these seats is between unlikely and zero.
Who would vote for a party that inflicted punishing inflation on the country; that blamed every facet of misrule on “sanctions”; that abducted and beat its opponents?
Zanu PF may once have been a party of liberation, but now without any shadow of doubt it is a party of failure.
That’s a shame because the MDC will need an effective opposition and it doesn’t look like getting one!
The Business Herald carried a picture on Tuesday of Tourism minister Walter Mzembi and Environment minister Francis Nhema who, we are told, have formed a partnership to “raise the profile of the country that has suffered from negative perception from the West”.
Last week we were told Bulawayo artist Owen Maseko had been prosecuted because the authorities took exception to his depiction of the Gukurahundi atrocities. He was charged with “propagating falsehoods” under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
In other words, in the official mind, Gukurahundi didn’t really happen or if it did we mustn’t mention it.
Earlier this year a collection of photographs had to be removed from the Gallery Delta in similar circumstances.
Then the Herald talks about “negative perceptions” by the West.
What sort of “perceptions” does it think this repressive behaviour invites — not just abroad but within Zimbabwe itself? Freedom of expression is enshrined in Zimbabwe’s constitution. But it is not upheld by the country’s rulers.
The Nathaniel Manheru columnist in the Herald has been on the attack again. And we are his main target. He had this to say on Saturday: “…The Zimbabwe Independent takes the colour and worldview of its Rhodesian owners and it is important that this insidious yet assiduous reissuance of the Rhodesian ethos be exposed for all to see.”
What needs exposing for all to see is Manheru’s mendacity. Everybody in the media knows that Trevor Ncube owns this newspaper. But Manheru deliberately lies about its ownership to express manufactured indignation over our exposure of the fate of members of the once violent land-reform youth corps who now wallow in poverty on the farms they helped to seize.
It is of course perfectly legitimate for a newspaper to ask what happened to those the then ruling party claimed to be liberating nearly a decade ago.
Manheru says he doesn’t object to anyone defending white farmers “but let it be done cleverly and without taking advantage of unsuspecting poor people”.
And who cleverly used “unsuspecting poor people” to fulfil their partisan cause 10 years ago?
Can you imagine a senior civil servant dictating to a newspaper how “clever” it has to be in framing its stories?
Meanwhile Manheru could demonstrate a measure of “cleverness” in limiting his turgid prose to a readable length on a Saturday so we don’t fall asleep at the breakfast table!
Thanks to Nelson Chamisa and Pishai Muchauraya for their swift intervention. They quickly disputed Theresa Makone’s claims telling the Zimbabwe Independent police were now better behaved.
American music star Akon witnessed first-hand the rogue behaviour of our police.
Akon, who performed in front of a 30 000-plus crowd at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday night reminded the police to respect human rights.
Reports elsewhere suggest the music icon insisted that he did not want them as part of his security team.
Akon made it clear at the show that he was not happy with the conduct of the police officers who were beating up people during his live performance.
When he got on stage Akon told the police to stop assaulting his fans.
“Police, stop swinging those batons onto my fans,” Akon repeatedly said.
“I want to meet with my fans so move the barricades forward and let them come closer.”
He later threw himself into the crowd straight off the stage and also got into a glass balloon and conducted a crowd scanning exercise, a move which has made his shows around the world popular.
Thanks Akon for that reminder. Let’s hope Makone, who has been making misleading public remarks, also heard you.
A Zimbabwean based in the Netherlands, Hatina Chitiyo, fell victim to the police heavy handedness.
“I screamed for Akon which I suppose is normal for anyone upon seeing a musician of his calibre,” Chitiyo said. “I was beaten by a police officer and tried to run away but had to come back to help my sister who was also being beaten by the policeman.”
Any “negative perceptions” arising from this episode cannot be ascribed to Tony Blair who the state media appear to be still obsessed with.
What annoys them so much, we suspect, is that he presided over a successful economy.
And how are they going to report Fidel’s welcome admonishment of Iran’s presidential bigot, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
Finally, Muckraker was intrigued to read a news report of March 15 2001 headed “Fake bishop accused of arms smuggling”. Police in Ecuador said they had arrested a man posing
as an Anglican bishop on charges of arms smuggling. All very curious!