By Professor Ken Mufuka
I have just returned from Zimbabwe. I went there at the urgent invitation of people of faith in Masvingo Province. My hostess was Apostle Elizabeth Chademana a mover and shaker in the Gospel and a dreamer of dreams. She is the forward messenger of Isaiah International Ministries.
They are poised to do great things in Masvingo Province and are working on a project that will include an orphanage, a clinic, a shopping center and an outreach ministry.
My official title in the US is Lay Servant of the United Methodist Church, the least of the saints. However, my church empowered me to carry a message of comfort and hope to the ministers and young leaders of the church in that province.
I have written about my experience with the Isaiah Ministry in the Standard Newspaper on Sunday and I will not repeat the story here, except to say that it became obvious to me that the leaders of Zimbabwe have boxed themselves in a labyrinth from which only a miracle can extricate them.
As for the saints, we live by faith and hope that it will all turn out alright. Faith and hope is the expectation of things to come, which by normal circumstances would be beyond achievement.
Here is my story. Zimbabwe is in the middle of an economic maelstrom and the outcome of this storm is uncertain. As I travelled the length and breadth of the country, I realized that even with the best of intentions, President Emmerson Mnangagwa cannot fully come to grips with all the factors in play.
He inherited a country run by pirates whose only desire is to plunder, wishing only to live for the day, without thought for tomorrow.
I tell you my brothers, ED needs our prayers.
The fuse that awaits a match!
It is the money stupid! By whatever means ED was persuaded by Oriental charlatans to adopt the Zee dollar, I have no idea.
What the charlatans did not envisage, as always, was that they were not the only players in the field.
I accompanied my sister for shopping. Assume that the Zee dollar is valued at U$D1 to ZD10 and that my sister, a nurse, earns $Z540.
Commodity in Z$ Price in U$D
1 gallon oil for generator
Cornflakes 32 ounces
Sugar 10 pkgs
TAXI Ride from Airport U$7.00
I went into a bank at Sam Levy shopping center and asked the teller to grant me my weekly allowance. She gave me $150 in quarter coins, the amount allowable per week.
It makes sense for teachers to demand a return to the U$ dollar. No matter how you work the mathematics, even if my sister’s wage bill is doubled, she will be better off earning the original U$540 per month.
These brothers need more than our prayers.
While I awaited my cash, a man walked into the bank and asked about the USD market rate, which he had heard was 8.5 percent. The teller, who assumed that the enquirer was from the Intelligence Organization, smelt a rat, and became evasive.
“Who told you?” The teller was hostile in tone. The conversation led to nowhere and the inquirer left in a huff.
The enquirer was, however, correct. The 8.5 percent rate was published in the Daily News as the Inter-market rate. Later. I read Eddie Cross’s story in Nehanda about a perfect storm brewing in Zimbabwe. Cross says that such a rate does not exist. Cross is absolutely correct.
The Inter-market rate exists only to please President Mnangagwa, who will assume that since such a “fact” is published in the Daily News, it actually exists.
My informants (makorenyera) told me that there is not a single person who has gone into a Zimbabwe bank and bought USD’s at any rate, inter-market or otherwise. If this is so, that means the USD-Zee dollar exchange rate if fictional as far as ordinary citizens are concerned.
But that is only part of the story. Having realized that I could not get more than $150 for my needs, and the restaurant across the road from Barclays Bank was refusing these coins in payment for services, I was frustrated.
Two brothers (Makorenyera) had followed me and appreciated my predicament. They confessed that they had observed “everything” and apparently surmised that I was a foreigner (that nomination I rejected vehemently, being the son of Mhofu.)
The Makorenyera had stacks of $5 and $2 bills nicely stacked and were willing to help me out, 10 to U$1. The issue here is that the nicely stacked bills must have originated from a financial institution! Think about that.
So these “Makorenyera” aged between 20 and 25 years, driving an Isuzu pick-up, can offer services which banks cannot. By the way, they called me “Daddy” a title that at first I resented but later realized was honorific. My grey hairs must be showing.
This erodes trust in government initiatives, even before they start. ZANU-PF operatives, in my opinion seem to expose government policies in the worst limelight, and are partly the cause for lack of trust.
With friends like these ED needs all the prayers we can offer, without ceasing. I am reminded of Napoleon’s dictum that it is better to fight on the side of ten lions than to be on the side of 10 000 sheep.
A casual reading of the Daily News or NewsDay will reveal the following intelligence. Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa missed a sum of U$D 25 000 in cash. Whether the court believed her coca maniac story that the money belonged to her sister and that she had been given the “loot” for safe-keeping is beyond me.
It appears that an amount of U$200 000 in cash was found in a police raid on Neville Mutvangwa’s office. Neville is Ms. Monica’s son.
In another house servant story, an estimated U$D150 000 disappeared from Robert Mugabe’s country home. The offense caught the eye of the police when a former house servant bought a car for cash with US money and went on a grocery spree with U$6 000.
Intelligence officer Augustine Mutambu, brought before a magistrate for corruption “defended” himself. Most CIO’s operations were marred by corruption, was his defense.
The sum total of these “loot” stories is that there is no shortage of money in Zimbabwe. The shortage applies to banks, because banks have lost the trust of the populace as trustees of wealth.
Surely, the fact that ZANU-PF stalwart Justice Wadyajena buys a U$D 400 000 Lamborghini automobile for cash proves my point.
With such stalwart operatives on behalf of government, and trust emerging as the key to the future of monetary policy, it seems that the battle is half lost before it begins.
It is not as if these deals are done in secret. At the Inter-Cape Bus Station in Masvingo, next to Flamboyant Hotel, three men sit on stones. Each holds a different currency, the Rand, the USD and the Zee Dollar in nicely packed rubber banded batches.
They have come to some agreement with the police, and their scouts tell them when to disappear and when to reappear.
Their services are indispensable to cross border travelers. Their customers lovingly call them “vakomana” (boys).
I ran out of money and after an excruciating thirty minutes, while the bus was raving up as if to leave without me, a kindly gentleman approached me with the most sensible suggestion. “Do you want me to find Vakomana for you?”
In my ignorance, I was unaware that Vakomana are more accommodating than the bank I had just come out of.
The fact that nothing works only surprises the uninitiated. That the banks do not work is only symptomatic of the bigger malaise. The electricity at my mother’s house did not work. Right in the middle of Minister Lazarus Dokora’s goat party, lights went off. Our party, scheduled at 11.00 a.m. was delayed till 1.00p.m.
My sister’s pension from Harare City has been delinquent for the last three years.
The windshields of all the buses that allowed me a ride, from Harare to Victoria Falls were cracked from small stones thrown at them from passing eighteen wheelers.
Driving in Harare has become a nightmare. Kombi drivers drive on the pavement and cutoff other motorists at will.
Farmland without farmers
I took a lazy drive from Norton along the ridge of Mashona Hills where Chief Mashayamombe started the first Chimurenga against a Native Commissioner who had whipped him before his twelve wives, in order to humiliate him.
The Third Chimurenga stalwarts expelled the remnants of the colonial farming families, the most distinguished of which was Kyntyre Estates owned by a Scottish family.
The new farmers, which include our own former Governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, Chris Mutsvangwa and a brother who is executive director of the Dairy Board are outshined by the lonely white remnant of the colonial era Dodd Hill (pronounced by natives as Dodhi Iri).
The natives warned us not to buy any oranges from the revolutionary farmers, which they allege to be sour, but to identify those packages with Dodhi’s insignia.
While the revolutionary farmers have put their best efforts, they lost out when machinery was removed, water systems were vandalized, and the weather became uncooperative. The thin maize stalks are a witness to the catastrophic failure of the maize harvest.
Norton area is in rainfall region two. Regions three and four in Masvingo are facing stark starvation.
There is no trust even among the sinners themselves. To say that even the Mukuru himself and his deputies have suffered from “alleged poisoning” is merely to abide by the rules of journalistic sensibilities.
It is alleged that Mukuru wears a bulletproof vest on public events.
Auditor General Mildred Chiri’s annual reports are a chilling reminder of E’s friends. She reports that 600 000 liters of fuel disappeared while under the care of the Justice Department.
And there are many more horrific stories of daylight robbery and theft. It appears to me that the stalwart perpetrators are, or feel that they have some “right” to allocate to their personal use public wealth.
The key word is that they are “stalwarts.”
It means that while government can talk noise (black English) there are two parallel universes. The majority population lives under the radar in quiet desperation.
Having examined the conditions under which President Mnangagwa works, and the scoundrels and supporters who brought him to the position which he holds, I find that nothing short of a miracle is required for success.
If he were to clean up the place, is it not possible that he would be left without friends, as all the thieves and scoundrels are in the inner circle of the twelve apostles?
One question remains unsolvable. Among his disciples, it appears to me that there are more Judases than there are Simon Peters.
I am not finished. My friend Fabian Mabaya and his wife Ms. Happiness has set aside a bedroom for my use when I am home. I can share dinner at their table. I have no fear of stuff happening to me.
Surely the attempt to poison ED was not done by an enemy.
Surely the bombing in Bulawayo, whose culprit has not yet been revealed, was not done by “enemies.”
My brothers, these are the questions professors ask in graduate school. Can ED trust Obert Mpofu, Justice Wadyajena, George Charamba, Simon Khaya Moyo (his stalwart supporters) to carry out policies involving drastic national transformation? The example of Chinese leader, Chairman Deng comes to mind.
It became obvious to Deng that a retirement age of 70 was necessary in order to bring new blood to the party.
I rest my case. Peace.