Chinamasa, a pariah state, voodoo and false prophets

“It is a shame we have such leaders. They are not at all prepared to address the issues raised by the general populace. Hell we are living in.”

FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa’s troubling claims that counterfeit bond notes are already being printed before original notes are even made public confirmed our worst fears that the promissory currency is open to all sorts of financial shenanigans, not least expansionary monetary policy or quasi-fiscal activities — money printing in other words — by unscrupulous authorities in charge.

Addressing guests at a budget seminar in Bulawayo last week, Chinamasa said counterfeit bond notes were already being printed by crooks and corrupt elements bent on sabotaging their acceptance by the public.

Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya’s efforts to downplay or refute his boss’ assertions just added more controversy to the currency project which has hurtled from one disaster to another.

Muckraker will return to Chinamasa’s claims somewhere down the line. In the meantime, it is important to remember the real problem is that Chinamasa and Mangudya, in fact the whole government has not been transparent on the issue of bond notes.

Besides, government officials have dismally failed to explain the issue in simple and clear terms. Up to now they insist bond notes are an export incentive, yet at the same time we are also told that it’s a promissory currency meant to ease the worsening cash crisis.

Let’s scrutinise this issue further. If bond notes are only an export incentive, why are they being foisted on the whole population? Why are they not only limited to the export sector or exporters? What has an average man or woman on the street got to do with exports beyond them being part of trade and the general market liquidity matrix?

On the transparency aspect, the whole affair has been murky. Is the US$200 Afrexim facility guaranteeing the bond notes there or not? Does it exist? If it’s there, where is the term sheet? Has this whole initiative been approved by cabinet and parliament given the context in which it is presented?

How about the legality of the bond notes and use of presidential powers?

Who is printing the bond notes and where? Why is it a secret? We know who minted the bond coins. Why is the introduction of the bond notes being treated like a sensitive state secret and not an economic issue, which it really is?

Could Chinamasa and Mangudya please explain this bond notes fiasco in simpler and clearer terms than they have done so far.

Otherwise, we will have no choice but to continue to believe they don’t know what they are actually talking about; they are just muddling through.

As Albert Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Now, back to Chinamasa. It’s clear why Mangudya and other government officials were uncomfortable or in fact angry with his unsubstantiated claims of the printing of counterfeit bond notes. The only person or people who can print fake bond notes at this stage are government officials who have the specimen or the real notes. How can you print a counterfeit of something you haven’t seen? So if we are to believe Chinamasa’s claims, the authorities are the ones doing it.

As researcher Ken Yamamoto points out: “The truth is that the elite crooks and the parallel market dealers — a privileged few with guarded access to Zimbabwe’s cake will get out of this much richer while everybody else is impoverished. The script is not new. The players remain the same. The light at the end of the tunnel you may be seeing is in fact a train coming to crush you.”

We could not agree more.

Pariah state

Chinamasa’s whining about the country being a pariah like North Korea no matter what it does, at the budget seminar in Bulawayo, is interesting.

He also conceded that the country is considered “a rogue state” and this makes it difficult to mobilise international support for the troubled economy. The Finance minister should not be surprised about the country’s description as a pariah state as he has witnessed it firsthand.

It’s a pariah state because of dictatorship, human rights abuses and policy inconsistencies. Zimbabwe is a softer and modern version of North Korea and its Juche, the official state ideology, which President Robert Mugabe at one time admired a lot. North Korea contributed a lot to Mugabe’s Gukurahundi project — one of his first main plans after taking power in 1980. It was a pre-planned plot; remember there was also another earlier Gukurahundi campaign during the liberation struggle military training camp killings in Tanzania. People always forget this. Muckraker doesn’t.

Zimbabwe is now a laughing stock or a butt of jokes primarily because of Mugabe’s disastrous incompetence and failure. Chinamasa has been a victim of government chaos. He announced twice that the government will suspend paying bonuses, only to be shot down publicly on both occasions. His mid-term budget statement is not worth the paper it is printed on because his critical proposals to cut the salaries of ministers, among other drastic cost-cutting measures and critical reforms, were thrown out by cabinet.

When you add that to the fights within Zanu PF with senior government official accusing each other of theft, attempted murder and voodoo at a time the country is facing a deepening economic crisis, it fits the North Korea bill.

No sane investor will put his or her money in a country where the law of the jungle reigns supreme. Without respect for the rule of law, property rights and progressive policies, as well as effective leadership, Zimbabwe is doomed. Chinamasa’s lament is at best naïve; at worst deceptive.

Nust(y) humiliation

Mugabe once again came face-to-face with the frustration borne out of his appalling misrule. A National University of Science and Technology (Nust) graduand last week cat-called at the nonagenarian leader during the institution’s graduation ceremony in Bulawayo demanding that he provide jobs, before being apprehended by state security agents.

This comes hot on the heels of Mugabe being humiliated at the University of Zimbabwe graduation in September after students waved placards demanding jobs. The humiliation at Nust comes after security agents have begun confiscating pens and reportedly even mascara at graduation ceremonies in a bizarre attempt to prevent similar messages being waved to a leader who has clearly overstayed in power by at least two decades.

It just goes to show that no amount of intimidation, which includes unashamedly denying protestors genuine degrees at a time when the likes of First Lady Grace Mugabe get a fake doctorate at the drop of a hat, will silence angry youths who face the prospect of being street vendors despite having spent three to four years studying for a degree.

As one reader rightly observed: “It is a shame we have such leaders. They are not at all prepared to address the issues raised by the general populace. Hell we are living in.”

Lessons from the US

The United States election has come and gone. The bruising battle between the Democrats and Republican nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump respectively has been vicious and quite entertaining.

That Trump, who has promised to build a wall to keep out Mexicans reminiscent of the dark era of the Berlin Wall and has been endorsed by the right-wing extremist organisation, the Klu Klux Klan, made racists slurs against blacks and insulted women, won the presidential election shows the vagaries of democracy. It also exposed US society and its ugly underbelly. In the name of democracy, even racist demagogues reminiscent of fascist leaders can be sent by the majority on the crest of a wave of popularity to the White House. This reminds Muckraker of what Winston Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Well, since Muckraker believes in democracy, human rights and good governance, among other such good values, to the Americans we can only say people get leaders they deserve!

short and sweet…

Superstitious govt and Mohadi’s drama

The supernatural — driven by voodoo and false prophets — has taken centre-stage within Zanu PF as politicians fight to desperately position themselves to succeed the aged Mugabe.

Dramatic Malawian preacher Shepherd Bushiri has claimed that State Security minister Kembo Mohadi will soon be promoted and wear a crown, a prophecy taken to predict his elevation in the moribund Zanu PF.

The affair was a mythic spectacle — incredibly superstitious.

After a lot of mumbo jumbo, the preacher gave Mohadi a white handkerchief, which he said the minister should use each time he felt under threat and that if he used it to pray he would receive miracles.

The belief in the supernatural is deeply entrenched in Zanu PF as evidenced by barefoot senior officials, including Mohadi, sitting around a rock in Chinhoyi after being embarrassingly duped by convict Rotina Mavhunga that pure diesel was oozing from a rock.

The government even gave her gifts for this “discovery” which included cattle, wildlife and money. It is no wonder, with leaders like these, the country is in such a mess.

Let’s hope Bushiri’s prophecy is not going to be like that of Nigerian prophet TB Joshua’s on the United States presidential election outcome!

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