Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What Happens Now?

The ‘Talks’ came and went without agreement from Tsvangirayi. Clearly he is the one holding out for a better deal, while Mugabe, it is reported, has made several (minor) concessions.

In the meantime schools are still closed, the banks are collapsing with alarming rapidity as they cease to do business, the soldiers don’t have their US dollars. Neither do the teachers and policemen or the many other civil servants. Tel-One, the monopoly telephone provider issued statements to customers in ridiculous amounts of US dollars but then had to relent when it was pointed out to them that the majority of their customers don’t have access to US dollars. They itemised telephone line rental at USD 20 a line but failed to provide any tariffs and had the cheek to demand payment in advance for ‘next month’.

There are expectations from everyone that they should be ‘paid in US dollars’, be they individuals, corporates, parastatals or central and local government authorities. The fact is that what USD is around is in cash! They are not traded through the banking system, one cannot write cheques in USD. There is a very limited supply of US dollars that circulates amongst the ‘haves’, the ‘haves’ being licensed traders and unlicensed traders in the informal economy. The expectation that ‘everyone must have them’ is misguided in the extreme.

To make matters worse for all of the ‘have-nots’, the Zimbabwe dollar has moved from 2.5 trillion to 1 USD to 10 trillion to 1 USD in the past 24 hours!

Could it be that ‘government’ has been stalling on the schools issue, the payment of teachers, soldiers and policemen on the misguided belief that Tsvangirayi will agree to taking part in the ‘GNU’ and suddenly the fiscus will be awash with all the US dollars it needs to pay everyone? But it hasn’t happened and it is unlikely to happen in the near future.

In the meantime Barak Obama has been sworn in as the new US President and some remarks in his acceptance speech were clearly aimed at Mugabe and Zimbabwe.

“To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.”

Mind you, it will take a long time for these words to sink into the sick psyche of ZANU PF and their leader. They still believe with all their hearts and minds that they are on the right side of history.

Until then………!

No comments: