Zakanaka 2012-08-27 10:55:21
2006 in retrospect
Year of Disasters With JOHN MAKUMBE(21-12-06)
This year will probably go down in the annals of Zimbabwe’s history as the
Year of Disasters. There has been very little progress made in resolving the
worsening political and socio-economic crisis in this country. It can, in
fact, be argued that rather than abate, the crisis has intensified. There
has not been a viable solution to the split in the opposition MDC party, and
the two factions seem to have resigned themselves to the labels of pro- and
anti-Senate, which is a shame, really.
There has also been a new split in Zanu(PF) itself with the formation of
Daniel Shumba’s United People’s Party (UPP). This development has caused
Zanu(PF) considerable fear since Shumba, a retired military officer, has the
charm and capacity to lure thousands of disgruntled Zanu(PF) party faithful
from the beleaguered party.
The national economy continued to decline during the year, to the extent
that the desperate Governor of the reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, ambushed the
nation and deleted three zeros from the worthless currency in a futile
attempt to re-value it and make it manageable vis- -vis hard currencies and
the local parallel market.
There are indications that two of the three zeros have since crawled back on
board, as Murerwa had ominously predicted during the year. It will be
interesting to find out how many zeros Gono will be forced to delete from
the currency in 2007.
The rate of inflation reached a new record high by topping the 1 200%
contrary to what over-enthusiastic Gono had predicted earlier in the year.
Failure had indeed, become the only option. Gono learnt the hard way that
while the stinking Mugabe regime can rig elections and information, it
cannot rig the economy.
While good old Gono was battling to contain inflation and keep the national
economy alive, his bosses were actively looting state-owned enterprises with
impunity. The recently created Anti-Corruption Commission turned out to be a
toothless bulldog as it has so far failed to investigate, arrest and
prosecute any looters named and shamed by the independent media. Being chief
among them, Mugabe has demonstrated that contrary to his flippant rhetoric,
he cannot afford to bring these thieves to book.
As in past years since he became Agriculture Minister, Joe Made predicted
that the nation would have a bumper harvest in 2006, but we now know that
Zimbabwe had to import maize from South Africa and Zambia in order to feed
its starving people.
As if that was not enough of a mess, Gono, Made and others in the filthy
club proceeded to import “white sand” from South Africa, which the GMB is
distributing to gullible new farmers as fertiliser. How low do we have to
sink? A selected few new farmers were issued with the worthless 99-year
lease agreements, but financial institutions seem reluctant to accept these
documents as collateral for farmers intending to borrow money.
More private companies closed down during the year, while others scaled down
to the extent of operating at below 50% of capacity. The result has been an
escalation of the rate of unemployment, which is now estimated at more than
The rate of poverty virtually doubled during the year as the former
breadbasket entrenched itself as a full-fledged basket case. Indeed,
everything that could go wrong in the economy did so, and the sad old man at
State House did not have the slightest clue as to what to do.
At one time the situation in Zimbabwe became so desperate that the
illegitimate president started talking about building bridges with Western
democracies. Ben Mkapa’s name was bandied about, even though no official
approach to that dignified gentleman had ever been made to ask him to
mediate between Britain and Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.
The British laughed their lungs out at the suggestion, arguing that they do
not have any bilateral tiff with the collapsing Zimbabwe state. We have been
to h*** and back. Hoza (welcome) 2007, the fun continues.