SINCE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John “Dr Bond” Mangudya announced his spooky monetary policy measures last week in a bid to stem a growing liquidity crunch and cash shortages, a storm of controversy has buffeted the troubled local markets.
While Muckraker has no doubt at all that Mangudya, a good-natured persona; kind, friendly, and patient, is well-intentioned and really wants to resolve the crisis, sadly his interventions are not going to fly, not because of lack of substance as such, but largely on account of a deep crisis of confidence in the government that employs him.
Regardless of political affiliation there is one thing which has been clear since he announced his measures: no one trusts this government, hence the panic and outrage over his bond notes proposal.
It doesn’t matter whether one is a Zanu PF or MDC supporter, or indeed which religion or church they belong to, the gut reaction was the same. People fear the return of the dead Zimbabwean dollar. It’s like a story about creepy ghosts and spirits told in the middle of a dead dark night. It spooks them.
And most of Mangudya’s colleagues in government and the central bank are lingering ghosts haunting us from the hyperinflation era.
As Rebecca Maizel once said: “Ghosts have a way of misleading you; they can make your thoughts as heavy as branches after a storm!”
Indeed, our thoughts are very heavy after last week’s bond notes storm which battered us badly.
If truth be told, Mangudya is not the problem. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to appreciate this. He is allowing himself to be entangled in a messy affair he didn’t create in the first place. People will inevitably view him as the problem. So he needs to revisit the whole saga and disentangle himself from the unconventional economics he now preaches. He must leave the ignorant chaos theory to the apostles of Mugabenomics, or such other economic illiterates like Manheru.
Well, what really is the problem then? It’s simple: extended leadership, governance and policy failures. Call it mismanagement or incompetence, it’s the same thing.
Of course, Mangudya is at the coalface of the crisis, but the problem was caused by President Robert Mugabe’s catastrophic mismanagement of the economy. That’s the root cause of the problem. The cash crisis is a symptom of bad governance or misrule.
It’s difficult in contemporary history to find someone who has written such a ground-breaking manual on how to do a clinical demolition job on a country. Mugabe must simply write How Not To Run A Country and it would be a bestseller. For he is the designer of the plan and architect of Great Zimbabwe Ruins, to which the country has now been reduced.
But the point is: the distance between the Dear Leader and the despicable failure we see all around us everywhere you go is shorter than we think. The currency crisis Mangudya is battling with represents that distance.
Mugabe and his cronies have failed dismally. Bond notes or not, Mangudya won’t fix the problem with the same leaders still at the helm. This is the crux of the matter. He can try all he wants but it won’t work. Not that he shouldn’t do anything until Mugabe goes. No. In the short to medium term he might get the nation some reprieve on the cash crisis, but certainly not a lasting solution. This is the context he must think and all of us must view his measures.
We could not help but chuckle when we read the remarks of Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko on curbing brain drain.
“You will all agree with me that building the capacities as such is not enough … To my friends from the ACBF (Africa Capacity Building Foundation) team and its network, you need to continue building capacities, but more importantly, support countries and institutions in avoiding brain drain by retaining, harmonising and utilising capacity built on the continent,” he said at the 25th anniversary commemorations of the ACBF in Harare last week.
The remarks by Mphoko are hypocrisy writ large. He made these comments when the government is making frantic efforts to export thousands of Zimbabweans to other countries as part of a labour export programme which they have euphemised as “brain circulation”. The government has worsened the country’s brain drain caused by its toxic policies.
The plan is contrary to the party’s high-sounding but daydreaming 2013 election manifesto in which it promised to provide more than two million jobs by 2018.
It is therefore the height of hypocrisy for Mphoko to wax lyrical on the effects of brain drain.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed that government is working on a new law called the Public Sector Corporate Governance Act that will see corruption and maladministration in the public sector being punishable at law.
It is bewildering that government is only coming up with such laws after 36 years of Independence as if they have just woken up from some drunken stupor. It is a classic case of too little too late as parastatals have been reduced to virtual shells by years of mismanagement, incompetence and corruption. The government now needs hundreds of millions to recapitalise these outfits, but there understandably has been no appetite by any investor to take over these moribund state entities.
In any case, this law, if introduced, is likely to gather dust on the officials’ shelves if government’s failure to act against corruption is anything to go by. Examples abound which include the failure to act on irregularities exposed by Auditor-General Mildred Chiri in her numerous reports. Government’s reluctance to fight graft stretches back to the 1990s.
The Anti-Corruption Commission is a monumental waste of taxpayers’ money as it has not managed to cause any major arrest since its inception in 2005 with some of the commissioners even suspended for corrupt activities.
Mugabe flew to Uganda on Wednesday to attend the inauguration of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Museveni, like Mugabe, has clung tenaciously to power since 1986 and will be in good company with Mugabe who has also overstayed his welcome by at least two decades having been at the helm since 1980.
Mugabe is never one to miss an inauguration and should be comfortable in Uganda unlike in Nigeria when he attended the inauguration of the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari last year.
Nigerian journalists grilled him during his visit on when they will attend the inauguration of a new president in Zimbabwe.
The two leaders might even get to share notes on how to continue clinging on to power!
However, the major difference between the two leaders is that while Museveni has brought relative economic growth to Uganda, Mugabe has brought widespread hunger, poverty and despair turning Zimbabweans from exuberant swimmers in the ocean of optimism to huddled figures in the backwater of despair.
Wish Adeola Fayehun would attend Museveni’s inauguration and confront the two dictators.
short and sweet…
War vets must knock sense into Zanu PF youths
It is heartening that the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has dismissed the planned one million-man march being organised by the Zanu PF Youth League for the sham that it is.
ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya did not mince his words in condemning the harebrained idea of the youths.
“There is no sincerity in the million-man march. There is no political consciousness. It will not revive industry or bring food on the table … A million-man march, then what?” Mahiya asked rhetorically.
That the march is being held to affirm their support in President Robert Mugabe adds to the absurdity of the exercise. The Youth League is inviting Zimbabweans to march in the sweltering heat or freezing cold, depending on the day, for a man who has been the author of their misery.
They expect the public to march for a doddering 92-year-old leader who admitted without batting an eyelid on national television that government had failed to stop the looting of diamonds worth billions of dollars from the country’s diamond fields and whose policies have scared away investors and brought about unemployment of more than 90% and reducing the country’s graduates to vendors and touts in the process.
Most Zimbabweans would want to see Mugabe march out of State House along with his destructive policies rather than march for him to extend their impoverishment.