Even if bond notes were a good idea, of which they are not, they would still be useless. Zimbabwe’s problem is bad politics, not bad economics. Nomatter how sound an economic policy maybe, it won’t solve the problem.
By Gumisai Nyoni
President Robert Mugabe has used his presidential powers to amend the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act (RBZ) through Statutory Instrument 133 of 2016, to legalise the issuance of bond notes as a legal tender.
Without focusing much on the perceived economic implications associated with the ill-thinking associated with the ruling party, it is critical to note that the tender brings nothing new on an economic platform that has seen much hype about nothing always taking precedence when each and every policy would be in the offing.
Zanu PF, as always, has made a lot of noise in situations it would have found itself clueless when faced with economic malaise which it cannot resolve.
This period marks the reincarnation of the 2007/8 economic decline and the introduction of bond notes is one scenario that indicates another failure by government to stick to comprehensive policies that are pro-democracy and pro-development.
Leadership, as opposed to tyranny borrows from what the people say, improving on those ideas rather than always assuming a top to bottom approach. When policies are designed to suit the ruling elite, it becomes difficult for the masses to benefit from them.
Isn’t this another show of confusion in government, which used to boast that it was Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Zanu PF who spearheaded the introduction of a multicurrency regime?
Why now the summersault if those in the upper echelons of power knew quite well the United States Dollar was a noble injection to smoothen the economy that was reeling under hyperinflation?
Can Zanu PF today claim everything will be hunky-dory after the introduction of bond notes, which I am tempted to call “bond paper”. The “paper”, likely to be no different from former RBZ governor Gideon Gono’s bearers’ cheques, is another piecemeal measure that will find its way into history as an attempt to change a situation that is beyond redemption.
A political crisis can never have its remedy derived from economic blueprints. No amount of invention and innovation on the economic front without the backing of political transformation in Zimbabwe will herald a new beginning characterised by socio-economic growth.
Definitely there is no need to channel much energy towards experimental policies instead of focusing on pragmatic issues that affect the general masses on a daily bases.
This is another form of escapism and idealism rooted in denial that the ruling party has failed to offer an alternative to economic decline which has resulted in closure of industries, massive job cuts, exodus of Zimbabwean graduates and other citizens into foreign lands who at times work under hostile and unbearable conditions, almost equivalent to slavery.
Zimbabwe has signed a plethora of meaningless mega-deals with several countries, but all those agreements have not yielded tangible outcomes. They remain a pipedream.
The major, if not the only obstacle to investment, is well-known. The key to propel development in the country is there for all to see. There is virtually no need to waste national resources deliberating on silly issues that are meant to safeguard Mugabe’s monarch – what is required is a change of leadership.
Zimbabwe, probably a country with the highest level of docility south of Sahara despite boasting of higher literate rate, accepts anything, including drinking from a poisoned a well. This time around, bond notes are being introduced when long winding bank queues have resurfaced. Nothing has changed, the nations is caught in a cyclic web of impoverishment and dejection.
Riding on the docility of Zimbabweans to accept anything without resistance, Mugabe is left with no option except to rule the way he likes. Supported by strong and well-orchestrated coercive mechanisms, dictatorship in Zimbabwe is honoured as ideal and fashionable.
The coming or not of bond notes informs us nothing. Government is trying to divert attention from critical aspects of life, preferring to deal with trivial issues focused entirely on keeping the dictatorial regime in power.
While the economy sinks, technocrats in the ruling party carry briefcases with void blueprints to appear as if they are doing something, when in fact, they are doing nothing.
The solution to the country’s dilemma remains political. If the doctor’s prescription says cotrimoxazol, why go for paracetamol. Zimbabwe’s bacterial infections don’t require analgesic drugs – lots of antibiotics are needed. Hence the euphoria over bond notes is much ado about nothing.
Nyoni writes in his own capacity. Feedback: email@example.com