‘We must make Z$ work’, who is ‘we’

Daily life on Tuesday, July 31 2018 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Pic: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg
The Zanu PF propaganda machine has gone into overdrive in a rearguard action to justify the regime’s decision to reverse the 2009 decision to allow a basket of foreign currencies as legal tender.

“These (foreign currency) controls allow countries to better manage their economies by controlling the in-flow and out-flow of currency, which may otherwise create exchange rate volatility. Countries with weak and/or developing economies generally use foreign exchange controls to limit speculation against their currencies,” wrote Conway Tutani.

What the apologist is ignoring is that Zimbabwe experience its worst (so far, we have just started another phase and God only knows the new heights we will scale) local currency exchange rate volatility in the period 2000 to 2008. Hyper inflation peaked at a world record of 500 billion % and Z$ 35 quadrillion, ie 35×10^24 or 35 followed by 24 zeros, was worth US$1! The Z$ was the only legal tender and so it was not the foreign currency that fuelled the hyper inflation but the Zimbabwe’s own voodoo economic policies such as the madness of printing of more Z$ in bigger and bigger denominations.

The people lost confidence in the Z$ because it was worthless and so most economic activities ground to a halt, companies closed, shop shelves were empty, people’s savings and pensions were wiped out and millions of Zimbabweans were thrown into abject poverty. The Zimbabwe economy has never fully recovered from the economic chaos of the hyperinflation years ending November 2008; unemployment soared to 90% and has never fallen below 80% and millions of Zimbabwe still live in abject poverty to this day.

In November 2008 the worthless Z$ was scrapped and people were allowed to trade freely using a basket of foreign currency. Overnight inflation dropped to single digit, the shop shelves started to fill up with imported goods (it required a lot more than relaxing trade in foreign currency to kick start the collapse agricultural sector and industrial production).

Zanu PF has stealthily re-introduced the local currency to be used along side the basket of foreign currency. The regime has slowly started to inject more and more of the local currency into the economy; the regime has been straining on its leash, it temptation to revert to its old way of printing money was too much, and now it has broken the leash.

In January the monthly inflation rate was 5% or so and today, six months latter, it has already soared to 100%! The days of hyper inflation are back alright. The local currency is now losing half its value every month and there is worse to come as the inflation rate is growing exponential. It is not surprising that some people are already refusing to be paid in local currency and government’s own workers, teachers nurses and soldiers, have been demanding that their wages must be paid in US$!

Zanu PF has decided to banish the use of the foreign currency as legal tender to force people to accept the local currency as the only legal tender. Economic activities will slow down just as happened during the 2000 to 2008 hyper inflation years; people would rather hang on to what they have than sell and be paid in worthless money!

“Zimbabwe needs its own official currency, period. This obsession with the US dollar is unsustainable from an economic point of view. The US dollar should be traded in banks only. We need our own currency going forward,” continued Tutani (foaming and frothing).

“The price madness should be stopped by market forces as usage of the Zim dollar increases. It’s a process, not an event as some sections of the media are making it out to be with headlines screaming failure.

“It’s up to us to make the Zimbabwe dollar work — it’s all in our hands.”

Who is “us”? Ordinary Zimbabweans did not have any meaningful say in the imposition of this policy or anything else for that matter. The imposition of a worthless currency is already having a disastrous effect on the nation and is doomed to fail and all you are already blaming the people for it!

Zimbabwe is not a healthy and functioning democratic nation, in which the ordinary people have a meaningful say in the governance of the country. Indeed, Zimbabwe would not be stuck in this mess with this corrupt and incompetent Zanu PF dictatorship for 39 years if the people had power to remove the regime in free, fair and credible elections. It is a matter of public record that Zanu PF rigged last year’s years, even the regime’s own partners in the vote rigging crime, the MDC Alliance are finally openly admitting it.

“Legitimacy is an issue – last year’s elections were illegal, and not free and fair. All reasonable observers concede that,” admitted David Coltart, MDC Alliance Treasurer General.

It has taken Nelson Chamisa and his MDC Alliances friend nearly a year before they finally admitted that last year’s elections were indeed flawed and illegal and Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF are, per se, illegitimate. Now the cat is out of the bag, all the other Zimbabwe opposition minions who dutifully endorse Mnangagwa as legitimate are under pressure to renege their cock and bull nonsense.

The people of Zimbabwe must do is to make sure those responsible for this Z$ fiasco and the country’s economic mess – Minister Mthuli Ncube, President Mnangagwa, Zanu PF apologists like Conway Tutani and the rest of Zanu PF regime – are finally held to democratic account.

If we are ever to got out of this hell-on-earth of worthless money, economic chaos and political paralysis of illegitimate government  Zanu PF has dragged us into; we are must end the curse of rigged elections. We must make sure the next are free, fair and credible and for that to happen Zanu PF must step down to allow the implementing of the democratic reforms to dismantle the regime’s carte blanche dictatorial powers.

“It’s up to us to make the Zimbabwe dollar work!” So, the regime imposed the Z$ and we, the voiceless quadrillionaire victims of the tyrannical regime’s corrupt and blundering incompetence, are to blame for Z$’s doomed failure! How convenient!