Is Chivayo the new Tagwirei?

Kenyan President William Ruto, businessman Wicknell Chivayo and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa

IT has been quite a week for the newish Reserve Bank of Zanyland governor, John Mushayavanhu. With the market hanging on his every word to try and gauge how much trust they should place in the new Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) currency, he has kept his foot in his mouth at every crucial turn.

The world over, central bank governors tend to keep their traps shut for most part and apart from statements on policy, you could be forgiven for thinking they do not exist.

Of course, In Zimbabwe’s case, all that changed when ‘the people’s governor Gideon (GG) Gono took over in 2003. Then, the country was in the throes of the initial Western sanctions, or, as he called it, the ‘real sanctions.’

Until the government of national unity of 2009, GG was a de facto prime minister, and ran the country as he saw fit and was everything and everyone all at once. He became omniscient.

And he loved the limelight and revelled in it. And with him came hyperinflation, bearer cheques, agro cheques, bills and 100-billion-dollar notes.

The man, who replaced him, both at CBZ and the apex bank, John Mangudya dialled down on hogging the limelight and making outlandish statements but had to front up because the currency crisis refused to die, especially since the GNU had collapsed the year before he took over the reins.

The new John is finding it tough in the limelight, and cannot escape his own shadow. He is still learning the art of what to say and what to keep under the lid.

Much of what he had to say in recent times involved defending his baby, the ZiG because the market is just not taken by it.

“We borrowed a lot from a paper that was presented by CZI. We didn’t invent ZiG; it was invented by CZI. They are the ones who said to us that when we look at the amount of RTGS/bonds in circulation if we convert them, we can buy it all and start afresh. This came from CZI and so we consulted far and wide.”

And then: “We didn’t know much about a structured currency. We got a consultant from the World Bank. A lot of the things you’re seeing about the structured currency actually came from the World Bank. So, if you’re going to blame me, you’re actually blaming the World Bank.

“Maybe they didn’t advise us properly. And if they did not advise us properly, it’s fine. Let’s refine it.”

Did somebody on his communications team forget to tell him Zimbabweans do not have such happy memories of the World Bank or their cousin, the International Monetary Fund? The scars from the ill-fated Economic Structural Adjustment Policy (Esap) have not healed, 34 years later!

When the World Bank shot back, he did a 180-degree turn, denying he ever said the offending words that brought into question his capacity to lead the institution.

Muck is wondering why he is so keen to pass blame in case things do not work out for the ZiG.

That loud mouth and self-exiled former minister Jonso (Jonathan Moyo) put the boot in: “Those …remarks were bad, their denial .. is worse! It is unfortunate and rather very concerning that a growing number of important stuff that the new governor… has been captured on video saying at public gatherings of one sort or another are either patently ill-advised or politically naive or downright outrageous or all these things rolled into one.”

Please get a competent communications team and heed their advice.

Muck can point him in the right direction if he so wishes.

It is no wonder then that the public is having a hard time to trust the government. As Muck has said before, public trust or mistrust will make or break the ZiG, and right now it is in short supply.

The bond notes from UDI

The man, who deputises our owner, the ambitious generari hogged the limelight at a business conference at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.

Muck still cannot decide if he was pulling our legs, making a fool of himself or a brazen attempt to rewrite history or shirk responsibility after the disaster that was the Zimbabwe dollar (ZWL), which prefaced the ZiG.

“We have done away with the ‘Bond’ which had been inherited from the time of Rhodesia, when after declaring the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), they were given sanctions by the United Nations Security Council, that’s why they came up with the bond,” the generari thundered, while threatening stern action on ‘speculators,’ presumably including the 65 poor souls that Muck thinks are scapegoats for some big people hiding behind state-provided security guards and guns.

“The Bond did not come with Zimbabwe, it came with the Rhodesia Bond, that red note which you used to see, so the Bond is away. We now have our Zimbabwe currency, support it!”

That level of unrealism takes some doing.

ZiG is Zimbabwe’s first post-independence currency, he claimed. Where has he been all these years? The ZWD, the ZWR, the ZWN and of course the ZWL.

Prizes for the disorganised

Speaking of ZITF, Muck noted that the so-called trade fair appears to have become mandatory for all state enterprises and related groups that basically seem to compete against each other to show, who is

more patriotic with outlandish designs and large delegates to give the impression of a successful event.

Still, Muck would like to commend the two ladies manning the Umzingwane Rural District Council stand. Right from the first day when everything was slow, they were ready, professional and organised, talking about every beautiful thing and opportunity in their district.

They even had the catchiest slogan: Visit Umzingwane: Umuzi WaMaNgwane!

The new V(I)P is…Chivayo!

Our owner is driving some Zimbos apoplectic with his choice of company after being photographed with the controversial ‘businessman’ Wicknell Chivayo (yes, Muck still does not know what kind of business the guy actually does, or how he makes the millions of greenbacks that he donates regularly in the form of flashy cars to whomsoever takes his fancy) alongside Kenyan President William Ruto.

The guy is an ex-convict, with a chequered history that does not lend itself to polite company at best.

How did our owner introduce him to Ruto? As who? What was his business at the trade fair, the guy does not actually run any industry that lends itself to any kind of trade? The recently divorced Chivayo hogged the limelight in Bulawayo and relegated ministers to the sidelines.

Maybe our owner knows something that we do not.

During the Easter holidays, Chivayo was seen receiving our owner at the Zion Christian Church’s Mbungo shrine ahead of the nominal vice owner, Kembo Mohadi, the legend of office romance. He even arrived for the event in a chopper, with a subservient Mohadi being forced to welcome him. But Muck is wondering, is Chivayo the new Kuda Tagwirei, the man who used to accompany our owner everywhere and getting all the government deals?

Time always provides the answers.

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