Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Return

I’m back!

While I’ve been away Jestina Mukoko has been found in police custody. So much for the word of the police that they did not know of her whereabouts. Other activists have been found. So called ‘confessions’ have been made by several activists but one of the activists has spilled the beans with the detail as to how it was all done through severe torture and manipulation.

Observance of human rights is deteriorating rapidly and everyone in the security and judicial services seems to be involved one way of the other. But who cares about human rights in Zimbabwe? Nobody it seems.

On the economic front when I left The Zimdollar cash rate was trading at 100 million to 1 USD. Today it is trading at 100 BILLION to 1 USD. The cheque rate, the OMIR rate and whatever other rates exist at are beyond my calculating ability. To try and explain just how bad things are, today I found that a deposit of 144 quadrillion had been paid electronically into my personal account. On investigation I discovered this was a dividend from Old Mutual. At the cash rate this is valued at just over $US4, 000. At the ‘cheque rate’ it is probably valued at $US4.

I made an attempt to see just how much cash I could draw. On being told that the windfall was a dividend payment to me personally, the bank teller said I could draw one trillion. But then she said she did not have any cash to give me. From my company account (if they had the cash) I could draw 50 million. What use this is to anyone is a mystery.

I went to another branch of my bank. They had some cash. They let me have all of it with a smile and ‘this is your lucky day’. I walked out with 120 billion in five notes. I went into the city and did some business. My car was cheerfully ‘watched over’ by a street kid. When I came back I gave him one of the 20 billion dollar notes. He took it but clearly what he really wanted to see was either US dollars or SA Rand.

The schools have been refused permission to re-open, mainly because the government doesn’t know what to do. The excuse is that the Grade 7 results are ‘not yet available’ but schools may re-open on the 26th January. You can bet the Grade 7 results won’t be available then either. The teachers have refused to mark them until they get paid a proper salary. The teachers, we are told, want 2.5 thousand USD a month.

Private schools then said they would re-open in spite of the ‘rule’ from the Ministry of Education. Government responded by threatening the private school authorities with arrest and imprisonment if they flouted the rule. Two schools opened. Heritage school at Borrowdale Brook and St Georges College next door to the President’s residence. Heritage was promptly invaded by soldiers who sent everyone home with the comment: - “Until we get paid in USD you will not re-open the school’. St George’s authorities told government that they answered to The Vatican, not to the Zimbabwe government and were allowed to remain open. What a fiasco.

More on soldiers, hot rumour has it that the entire company at Cranborne Barracks tore up their payslips in front of their officers yesterday.

Government is said to have approached the SA Government asking to be included in the South African Rand Monetary zone. SA has said yes, no problem, but we will control the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, not you. So what next?

On the ZBC one can hear diatribes of hate against the MDC, The British, and now for good measure because it is popular thing to do, the Israelis.

Is it really near the end? How can the RBZ and Mugabe wriggle out of this latest economic crisis? So far they have been innovative but every decision they have made has failed to see the long term consequences of their decisions, starting of course, with the unbudgeted payout to war veterans in September 1998.

Watch this space!

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