LAST week, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya publicly admitted that a mere 10 out of the more than 16 million Zimbabweans control the United States dollar market, which means that 0,0000625% of people control the country’s US dollar bounty. This is absolute madness.
As if that is not enough, we were again told that 50 companies control 50% of the country’s $19 billion money supply. This also means another 50 individuals own $9,5 billion money supply while, theoretically, the rest of us individually own $593. However, if practically interrogated, more than half of the country’s population owns nothing, which explains the 2011 poverty headcount ratio of 72,3%. It would not even be surprising as 90% of Zimbabweans are deemed poor today.
In fact, Mangudya’s succinctly put it thus: “So 50% of the $19 billion money supply is in the hands of 50 corporates and so it means we are predominantly a poor country. We must not allow such a thing to happen because at the end of the day, prices will affect everyone in the economy. We are not targeting individuals; we are targeting those with sufficient energy to influence the market.”
This scenario is more than scandalous. It is soundly preposterous that a nation such as Zimbabwe, physically rich as it is, can be personalised in this manner.
What these figures actually tell us is that Zimbabwe is only a nation in name; otherwise the land and all of its other resources are personal property of 60 individuals or more. How did we end up in this miserable rut?
The tragedy that has befallen this country is that the majority of the nation has not bothered to be critical when interrogating issues and those who have bothered to question things have either been made to disappear, forced into exile or clobbered into silence while a few individuals and entities were given free rein and freedom to loot the country’s resources. It is simply not possible for less than 100 people to be so filthy rich in a land of festering poverty unless they have been looting.
The Tendai Biti-led parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has been on a lone crusade pointing out the source of our penury with very little support from the cowed citizens; while the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is lost somewhere in some wild goose chases.
It boggles the mind that all the evidence is there as to how our precious resources are being looted by these individuals, yet those with the power to stop the rot are busy with some other misplaced agendas.
The Command Agriculture programme is, indeed, one of the avenues that have been used to impoverish all of us. And yet a whole President has been resolute in supporting such a scandalous project. Also coming out of PAC’s unrelenting probing is the fact that the country has also been impoverished through dodgy deals and contracts where our hard-earned money is siphoned out of State coffers by individuals and entities purporting to supply goods and services, which never come.
This was the case at the Zimbabwe National Road Administration where contracts were awarded to people and companies, but nothing was ever delivered.
A fresh case is the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company mass transport arrangement whereby our impoverished government is busy pumping out millions of dollars to subsidise public transport.
The State is expending precious money taking people to work in incapacitated factories and institutions where workers are now busy using resources for personal gain. What is the point, if not for political expediency, of spending so much money sending people to workplaces where there is precious little productivity in the wake of electricity, water and foreign currency shortages? What is happening in this country needs more than political will to sort it out.