By Ken Mufuka
Many years ago, I was honorary patron of the Zimbabwe Global Forum, a federation of Diasporas across the world. Over time, my thinking is now tilted towards a return to Africa. The village is where we must start our experiments.
First, the politics is a state of flux right now and points towards a realignment. The Council of Churches, while it leaves highlights the fact that while government has perfected rule by force, and may employ financial wizards like professor Mthuli Ncube and Dr. John Mangudya, it lacks consensus and trust. To this has been added the voice of the Catholic Father, the Right Reverend Fidelis Mukonori.
The financial policies, based on international engagement and devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, have been tried elsewhere. There is not one example of their success.
The criticism, based on the fact that during the rule of the evil tyrant Robert Mugabe, these clerical brothers were subdued, is warranted. But I need not point out that we were all equally subdued, hoping for scraps from the table of Dives.
The issue before us is that the ship of state, in which we are sailing, also carries two brothers, Jonah and his sibling (Ncube and Mangudya). Unless their policies are abandoned, the winds from the twin devils, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will sink us.
There is not a single country where the policies of these twin devils have been followed and met with success.
Our brothers have fallen for the Jamaican chimera. The brothers have vast amounts of knowledge but lack understanding.
Here is an example. Mangudya, told a business meeting. Government policies were meeting with resistance. “It is a matter of trust,” he is reported to have cried. “I do not know why.”
This is the brother who has just depreciated the Zimbabwe dollar by a factor of ten, impoverishing millions of Zimbabweans of their savings.
Mangudya’s twin malefactor, in forcing this chimera on Zimbabwean people, is Brother Ncube.
In his Financial Statement, October 13, Ncube says: “Following the adoption of mono-currency in June 19, supported by further strengthening of both fiscal and month on month (monitoring) inflation retreated to 21 percent and further down to 18 percent by August 19. Inflation on a monthly basis is expected to stabilize around 10 percent end of 2019 and at 2.3 percent end of 2020.”
He expects economic growth at 5 percent by 2020. Here is a gem from a true wizard. These brothers must have been there when God gave man the power of speech.
In his November forecast, 2018, the brother imagined that the economy will grow by 3.1 percent. But, he says: “In 2019, severe exogenous shocks compromised agricultural activities and electrical generation with extended effects on other” activities.
He even boasted of Z$800 million surplus.
As we speak, Ncube is in Bali, Indonesia to engage international bankers.
My opinion, that Ncube and Mangudya live in a firmament of their own is now confirmed. These are the two Jonahs we carry on our ship. They have already wrecked one ship, the one Mangudya built in 2016 called BOND. Now these two brothers are in the process of wrecking another ship, the NEW BOND Ship.
The price of bread is now $15 per loaf, from $1 a year ago. Likewise, the price of petrol has risen to $15 per liter from $1.30. With geniuses like these on our side, we do not need imperialists to enslave us. Civil servants, who earned U$485 only last year, find buying power educed to U$48. 50. Doctors formerly earning
U$ 1 000 cannot afford taxis at U$100 per month.
Rents are doubling in all the major cities, while grocery prices are going through the roof. Common sense points to an inflation rate of 600 per cent by year end.
Here is what my Jamaican experience taught me.
When Michael Manley became prime minister of Jamaica sometime in 1971, he immediately attacked the big four international companies, Alcan, Monsanto, Alcoa and Kaiser for looting Jamaican bauxite (aluminum). By raising their taxes from U$50 million to U$250 million, his victory was a chimera.
Britain and the US withdrew their support of the Jamaican dollar, at that time valued at J$1 to U$2 dollars.
Wait for the kill.
By withdrawing their support, Jamaican dollar lost its easy convertibility.
Now at the mercy of international institutions, he devalued the Jamaican dollar in, U$1 now exchangeable for J$2. All their wealth was by that stroke of a pen devalued by 50 percent. Jamaica had to produce twice as much bauxite as the previous year in order to meet their payments.
When my rent rose from J$350 to J$700, with an income of J$750 per month, I had no choice but to seek refuge in the US.
Dr. Julius Nyerere of Tanzania spoke to the students thus. “They, (the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) expect us to pay them first while our children starve.”
By depreciating the Zimbabwe dollar by a factor of ten, international debts are now ten times more difficult to pay.
A simple example is that a teacher who earned U$485 must be paid Z$4 850 per month.
Nyerere warned us. “We found ourselves running in order to stand in the same place.”
The last time I checked, the Jamaican dollar was valued at J$153 to U$1 and a professor’s salary was J$450 000. Do your own simple arithmetic. That sum is equivalent to U$3 383.45. Within twelve months, of the eleven professors in History, nine migrated to the US.
It means that all these years, Jamaicans have been working to pay back imperialists. The more they pay, their dollar is depreciated, and they must work ten times harder to make one US dollar.
It means that an American child carrying U$1 dollar is king over all the Africans he meets.
I U$ 730.95 Malawi Kwacha
1 U$ 13.9 Zambian
I U$ 62.9 Mozambican
1 US 103.65 Kenya
The Tanzanian solution was to return to basics. Without food there can be no progress. Therefore, with good leadership, Zimbabwe can move towards total indigenous food development.
Surprisingly the Ian Smith government, under international sanctions, developed home industries, Willards, Olivine, Mazoe, Lobels, Cairns, Triangle Sugar and even the Chibuku and Zambezi beers.
The Hippo grinding mill, Chibuku beers and Colcom and Sugar Refineries as well as the Kyle Dam project were the brainchild of Ray Stockwell, Winston Field (junior) and white farmers in that province.
The Rhodesian farmers expelled from Zimbabwe have recreated food banks in Zambia and have kindly offered to supply Zimbabwe with all our maize needs. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The solution lies in our villages.
Ken Mufuka, worked in the West Indies as a representative of ZAPU in his previous life. He is the author of several books, the latest one (with Cyril Zenda) Life and Times of Robert Mugabe: Dream Betrayed, (2018) can be found at INNVOV Bookshops in Zimbabwe and at kenmufukabooks.com in the wider world.