Club of dreamers missing the basic economic tenets

“In this region in Sadc, the RTG (sic) is the strongest currency in the region, and it makes our exports expensive. So, we have a too strong currency . . . We have no doubt that in the President, we have a man endowed with an inimitable pragmatism born out of the odds he endured before and after the liberation struggle, where at one stage, he faced the gallows only to be saved by a technicality of being under age.”

ZIMBABWEANS were once again flooded with good news this week.

MUCKRAKER
Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

First, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that the country had the strongest currency in the region.

This news came just as we were in the middle of celebrating some more positive news released earlier by the Finance minister Mthuli Ncube; apparently, prices will start falling next month. Mark your calendars, stock up on more RTGS dollars, or, as our leader calls it “RTG” dollars. Finally, the economic stability we were promised a year ago is about to come upon us.

“The rand which many people cry for, is 14 rands to one US dollar. The Pula is also around nine or 10, I don’t know what it is, the Kwacha is the same,” the President told the nation in a radio interview. “In this region in Sadc, the RTG (sic) is the strongest currency in the region, and it makes our exports expensive. So, we have a too strong currency . . .”

Of course, the man is correct that that the currency is overvalued — “too strong” as he calls it. It is something many commentators missed. Clearly, Mnangagwa doesn’t seem to know the difference between a strong and overvalued currency. But news that a currency, which has lost over half its value in four months, was ever strong, to start with, will surprise and baffle many economists.

It will even surprise Mthuli, who has once again been all over the globe seeking a bagful of US dollars — or “real money” as ED calls it — just so he can support that same “strong currency” he has at home.

But fear not. It seems Mthuli has a plan. He tells us that inflation, nearly 100% even by the government’s massaged data, will start coming down in July. We remember how we were told that we would have cheap basics by April.

Maybe, this time, Mthuli actually has a plan. It’s just that he doesn’t know what it is yet.

Dubious faith

Muckraker wishes to salute the hacks at Herald House, for their unshaken faith in our President.

We join the patriots in hailing the President’s radio interview. The Sunday Mail wrote a gushing editorial headlined: We salute you Man of the People, in which our leader was praised for his clarity of thought on economics. Is it State media if it does not “hail” everything that comes out of government, or “castigate” anything that comes out of elsewhere? It cannot be.

“Not only has the President lived to his billing as a ‘listening President’, but he has also shown that he is a modern President who has embraced all new forms of communication — social media, new media and interactive radio programmes,” The Sunday Mail breathlessly wrote.

They had more.

“Conscious of the arduousness of the journey, President Mnangagwa assured his countrymen of a brighter future anchored on his unshakeable belief in the reform agenda.”

There was even more: “We have no doubt that in the President, we have a man endowed with an inimitable pragmatism born out of the odds he endured before and after the liberation struggle, where at one stage, he faced the gallows only to be saved by a technicality of being under age.”

One was reminded of Moses, the raven in Animal Farm. Beyond all the hard work and suffering, he would tell the hungry animals, lay Sugarcandy Mountain, a magical place sugar grows on hedges and there is food for everyone.
With even official numbers showing crisis, our patriotic journos can only sell such myths for comfort. Indeed, they have fine-tuned the art of smoke and mirrors. The only place in the country where the economy is booming is at Herald House.

Ancientisation

For a country led by men from pre-historic times, it is disappointing to see that none of them has offered lessons, from their experience, on how to survive in the dark ages.

By now, we should be having tutorials on how to live without modern conveniences, such as electricity and running water. Only they have the experience of surviving without soap or toothbrushes, which now cost a fortune at Muckraker’s local supermarket.

Please, our leaders, go on ZBC and give us tutorials on ancient modes of travel. Teach us how to drive a scotch cart, seeing as we can no longer afford fuel, or even find it. Please, some of us don’t even know how to chop firewood. Have you see the prices of meat lately? Teach us how to hunt for small animals with a bow and arrow.
What good is having leaders from the pre-historic era if they cannot even tells us how to survive in a pre-historic country?

Of course, The Herald will tell us there is an upside to the power cuts. Soon we will be told that an RTGS$3 Zesa token now lasts you a month.

Doddering youths

Comments by Mnangagwa that he would like to be succeeded by a younger person will have been met with widespread confusion in the ruling party. Did he mean a young person, or anyone younger, many within the corridors of Shake Shake Building would have been wondering.

You see, in Zanu PF, youth is a fluid concept. For a party that was on its way to fielding a 94-year old candidate, had a few generals not felt a bit itchy, even a 65-year old man is considered a toddler. It is a party whose youth leader is aged 57.

To add to that confusion, that youth leader, Pupurai Togarepi, declared on Twitter that “young people are future of this great country”. Since when do young people matter to Zanu PF?

In fact, since when does the future matter to the ruling party? Surely both Mnangagwa and Togarepi must be dragged to the party’s disciplinary committee to explain this public departure from official party policy.

Why would young people have any role when the elders are still waiting in line for their chance to destroy the country? We all know Zanu PF is yet to run out of old men. As Mthuli would say, they have a surplus.

Despotism

At a time Mnangagwa has been telling all who care to listen that he has ushered in democracy and freedom of expression, a man in Mutare, Tinashe Dembo, has been arrested for saying Mnangagwa is a failure.

Dembo has hauled before the country’s courts for simply accusing Mnangagwa of failing to properly run the country, as he could no longer afford to buy beer.

So much for democracy! If anything, this has gone to show that the despotic era of his predecessor Robert Mugabe is very much alive in the so-called new dispensation.

Hounded by his disastrous failure since grabbing power by the gun, as evidenced by the collapsing economy, Mnangagwa is increasingly showing signs of paranoia.

This explains why Midlands State University (MSU) has banned the carrying of ballpoint pens, a range of cosmetics, cameras and other objects at its upcoming graduation ceremony on July 12, which will be officiated by the septuagenarian leader.

The banning of such items was introduced in 2017 following an embarrassing incident where Mugabe was ambushed by placard-waving graduands at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).

Given his failure that has been clear for all to see through skyrocketing prices, eroded incomes and prolonged power cuts lasting up to more than 12 hours or beyond, Mnangagwa’s fear of suffering the same embarrassment is justified.

Tightening luxury jet belts for the rich

Hypocrisy permeates the corridors of power as evidence by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s interview with a local radio station last week.

He urged to tighten their belts. This is coming from a leader who has actually been loosening his own belt as evidenced by his use of a hired luxury jet to travel even to Bulawayo to open the trade fair.

Mnangagwa has shown that he learnt and forgot nothing from Mugabe in terms of hypocrisy and profligacy. The nonagenarian former president also spoke of tightening belts, while travelling the world on a budget which was higher than that allocated to three ministries.

Indeed, the more the things change, the more they remain the same.