Zanu PF Marxist-style politburo diktats futile

“… he (Mugabe) is fundamentally hampered by several factors: his ego and belief in his own infallibility; his obsessive focus on the past as a justification for everything in the present and future; his deep ignorance on economic issues (coupled with the belief that his 18 doctorates give him the authority to suspend the laws of economics, including supply and demand) …”

While cooling his heels for 10 years in prison, President Robert Mugabe is said to have acquired seven degrees one of which was in the field of economics (and please don’t laugh). And we have every reason to believe that this was a genuine degree because this was between the 1960s and 1970s before the advent of that species of universities or university councils awarding PhDs of the Dr Grace Mugabe and Dr Phillip Chiyangwa variety.

MUCKRAKER Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

So there is absolutely no question of the foolproof status of the degree, but even then the dear leader appears to have missed out on the basic lesson that markets or the economy can’t be rigged like elections.

In the realm of economics, it’s a different matter altogether and market forces do not respond to pleas, decisions and commands of communist-style central committees and politburos such as those of Zanu PF which are constantly battling to impose command economic models and policies on the country.

Bond notes

The other thing that shows Mugabe is economically illiterate is the bond notes proposal. He apparently thinks he can dictate to the markets what currency to accept, hence his claim that bond notes, a “surrogate currency” as he described them, are a “done deal”.

Mugabe should have in his studies read a bit about the political economy — that is the relationship between individuals and society, and most importantly markets and the state. So it looks like former United States ambasssador Christopher Dell was right after all when he said: “… he (Mugabe) is fundamentally hampered by several factors: his ego and belief in his own infallibility; his obsessive focus on the past as a justification for everything in the present and future; his deep ignorance on economic issues (coupled with the belief that his 18 doctorates give him the authority to suspend the laws of economics, including supply and demand); and his essentially short-term, tactical style.”

Bankers and businessman have been very vocal in their demands for the introduction of the rand rather than the bond notes. But Mugabe, who has been known to cut his nose to spite his face, said there is no going back on bond notes.

He ironically said opposing bond notes could only mean that you are either ignorant or have ulterior political motives. We will leave it to our readers to decide who between the bankers and businesspeople on one side and the dear leader on the other is the ignorant one in this case.

If anything Mugabe’s statement certainly set the tone for police actions who took in businessman Shingi Munyeza for questioning after he had simply stated the obvious that bond notes are “infamous” and were unlikely to win any confidence in the market. The solution would not be to silence the public, especially those who have been in business for many years, from speaking out on issues that affect them. It’s only a fearful and servile population that would say the emperor has beautiful clothes when in fact he is naked.

Deposits dipped 40% last month and more could have happened since the May 4 announcement. Can central bank boss John Mangudya tell Zimbabwe how much has evaporated from the banking system since the bond notes announcement and whether he still thinks the meagre US$200 million Afrexim Bank facility would ease the liquidity crunch? Muckraker thinks this is a classic case of closing the stable door after the horse has long bolted.

Pontificating

The know-it-all pundit, presidential spokesperson George Charamba has been pontificating about the “glory-seeking” behaviour of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) whose attempts at discharging its constitutional mandate of investigating corruption in high places has not been very successful.

The last time Zacc attempted similar investigations they were stopped dead in their tracks by apprehensive ministers and politicians who had so many skeletons hidden in their closets. Could it be that Zacc have stumbled on something bigger than the US$228 278 which the Information ministry permanent secretary received between 2009 and 2013 as board fees and allowances at the Premier Service Medical Aid Society — rich pickings for a civil servant.

We wonder what sort of advice he rendered to Cuthbert “Cashbert” Dube, but whatever it was it could probably explain why doctors will not treat Psmas patients without cash payments.

But why is Charamba scared? What is he afraid of? Psmas? ZBC or something bigger? Anyway, whatever it is the guilty are always afraid.

Herald internship

Muckraker is offering himself up for an internship in the state media in the interest of “patriotic, nationalist journalism” and just for the kicks of the thrill of being at Charamba’s beck and call. One investigations editor cannot monopolise the thrills of the merry-go-round.

Barely a week after writing a front page story under the headline Anti-corruption blitz targets bigwigs and detailed how “government is on a major anti-corruption operation, with investigators raiding ministries, parastatals, Harare City Council and housing co-operatives last Thursday and Friday”, the journalist appeared to have been subjected to some form of ideological re-orientation of the patriotic variety, possibly at the hands of the garrulous permanent secretary who has been on a solo crusade against Zacc. How else can it be explained that only last week the journalist performed a spectacular about-turn and came up with the headline Brickbats for glory-seeking Zacc. In the story, Zacc was advised to learn from “experienced” bodies like the police on “how to handle such matters”.

This is the same police which is still to inform the nation on progress in finding Itai Dzamara more than a year after his disappearance; the police who never found Rashiwe Guzha and so many others who simply vanished into thin air; the same police which is yet to apprehend the “culprits” who dared break into Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office on more than one occasion, if it wasn’t stage-managed.

Generous Zim

Zimbabwe Cricket has been very generous in recent weeks — generous enough to offer former South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini his first job as coach of a test nation. The generosity also extended to Ntini’s colleague and former all-rounder Lance Klusener, the new batting specialist.

The generosity also extended to forgotten Tatenda Taibu who was named the new chief selector, four years after he called time on his playing career to devote his time to his religious faith!

But apart from a fat pay check, Ntini is unlikely to be taking much from his stint as coach of Zimbabwe’s cricket team. The heavy defeats suffered at the hands of a third or even fourth-string Indian side have hit home the hard reality of allowing hare-brained political charlatans to dictate how the gentleman’s game should be run.

You can’t reform sport through race-based politics and posturing. The toxic Zanu PF mentality poisoning cricket and eating it away like cancer must be rooted out.

Ntini’s team was taken to the cleaners by adversaries who hardly broke a sweat when chasing paltry targets as low as 169 runs in 50 overs. In the process the generous hosts allowed some of the visiting batsmen to set new milestones. And the embarrassment knows no bounds with the Chevrons putting in scandalous performances. At least we all know where and when the rain began to beat us — an aggressive and racist form of nationalism will never win games. Meritocracy, talent and skill, regardless of colour, is what is required to succeed in sport; not bigotry and “isms”.

short and sweet …


When Mugabe despises his all-weather friends

The dear leader must have dropped in from another planet — Cloud Cuckoo Land perhaps — what with his weekend discovery of the pejorative Zhing Zhong.

“I hear South Africans have rejected Zhing Zhongs, they are called Zhing Zhongs,” Mugabe volunteered in his criticism of the Chinese businesspeople for habitually refusing to bank money in the country.

Of course, the pejorative has been around for as long as the all-weather friends have been dumping sub-standard products on desperate countries like Zimbabwe and looting.

It was one long rambling speech which touched on so many issues, including the bedroom habits of the eastern brothers who were accused of leaving behind their spouses when coming to Zimbabwe to undertake long-term projects “as though they are celibate”.

There was, however, a home truth which was lost upon the doddering leader, but which was well-spotted by an alert reader who posted in the comments section of the Herald report that “so the president knows who is causing the liquidity crunch in the country, but he isn’t doing anything about it”.

How is that for irony, the friendly eastern brother externalising the currency of Uncle Sam the arch-imperialist and Mugabe crying foul!

Finally, a joke doing the rounds: Where is the capital of Zimbabwe? Answer: In a Swiss bank account.