IT is hard to escape the sense of a country drifting towards an inevitable collapse and a government in denial of what is happening right in front of our very eyes.
The RTGS prices one sees displayed on supermarket shelves will have been “adjusted” upwards by the time one gets to the teller to pay.
As a store of value, the Zimdollar has become pointless such that no one carries the notes anymore because we are getting to a situation where one needs to carry a considerable amount.
Smells like 2008, right! The spectre of the return to the situation where little boys would push a wheelbarrow full of notes to buy a packet of sugar is happening right before our eyes. One already needs 27 notes of the highest denomination of the Zimdollar to buy one loaf of bread!
The shadow of 2008 is looming large, where prices will chase the proverbial tail of the parallel market rate.
Recently, we have seen even the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe advising the general public to “seek other healthy alternative home-grown food stuffs”.
Government clearly has no idea of how to deal with the situation, if the retort by Justice minister, the crass Ziyambi Ziyambi in Parliament on Wednesday this week is anything to go by.
“The truth is that we cannot stop paying farmers in RTGS. We cannot, therefore, say we are no longer paying in RTGS, we cannot dump the RTGS because it has lost value and we adopt another currency. That is not possible. We have to promote our own currency if we want to control our own economy,” he told a bemused House.
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So, to this government, everything is about control of the economy, at which it is failing spectacularly.
Farmers spend a whole year planning, planting, harvesting, only to be told by one Ziyambi that they would be paid in a worthless Zimdollar currency, at the official rate that leaves them deep in poverty and the merchants flowing in United States dollars.
Workers are on the ropes, watching prices rise daily and their monthly stipend wasting away. Meanwhile, the quarterly pay increases don’t come close to meeting their needs.
So, Zimbabwe is stuck in another quagmire of a leadership twiddling thumbs while its population is wallowing in hyperinflationary poverty.
We agree with Norton legislator Temba Mliswa (Independent) who confronted Ziyambi in Parliament on Wednesday this week saying: “Let us not lie to each other, our local currency has no value at all. A good example is, if the car is not performing well, we park it, we cannot force matters. Let us park the RTGS, it is a very weak currency and adopt USD. The Zimbabwe dollar is not working, labour and inputs require USD. We must not play politics with reality.”