ACCORDING to a recent report carried on ZimOnline the Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono accused senior banking executives of “fuelling the forex black market” which, according to another report in the Cape Times, has seen the
Zimdollar trading at rates three times that of the official rate.
Blaming bank executives for the parallel market rates is a ploy that is typical of this regime. Unfortunately for Gono, the economic blame game went stale a long time ago.
If our governor is not aware that the Zimbabwe dollar is grossly overvalued, and if he is also not aware of the fundamental reasons why this is so, and why so little foreign currency is being earned by the Zimbabwean economy, then I really cannot see much chance of the widely-publicised “economic turnaround” getting off the ground.
What fundamentally determines the state of any economy is its ability to produce. For as long as this economy’s productive capacity is in decline, no amount of “meddling” by Gono will effect an economic turnaround.
Under present circumstances, the only substantive question is for how long this regime can pretend (to themselves — I don’t think anyone else is fooled) that the economy is on the mend.
To suggest, as does this regime, that Zimbabwe’s major problem is that the economy is controlled by whites — or imperialists — or any other perceived enemies of the revolution — is mere scapegoating.
It seems more likely that it is the obscenely wealthy builders of mansions and drivers of billion-dollar vehicles who are the problem.
After all, why should the nation’s decision-makers worry about inflation, unemployment, a lack of social services, and all the other problems that ordinary Zimbabweans face on a daily basis when their privileged existence knows nothing of, and cares even less for such mundane matters of survival?
As for the absurd official exchange rate, why should the ruling elite want to dramatically change something which provides a lucky few with the opportunity to add to their existing fortunes as Allister Sparks wrote in an article in The Star of April 20, so aptly headlined: “In this land of illusions it is only the ruling elite who find life rosy.”
The next time that Gono gives another of his triumphant policy reviews, perhaps he should do so before an audience of ordinary suffering Zimbabweans rather than the usual gathering of the nation’s affluent ruling elite.
But then that is unlikely as it is standard practice for members of an unpopular ruling elite to hide from the people they purport to represent and work for. Rather, they would prefer a sycophantic chorus of praise-singers than the reality of difficult questions from a critical audience.