It’s that time of the year folks, the festive season is well and truly over and the air is thick with the smell of regret emanating from the loins, hearts (and purse strings) of billions across the globe. First, let us review Zimbabwe’s financial situation.
The Zimbabwean government is trying to smuggle our old dollar back. Can you believe it? Some explanation is necessary here. Our local dollar was pulled out of circulation way back in 2009 after years of hyperinflation rendered it worthless. Really, It wasn’t worth even a fraction of the paper it was printed on. Since then we’ve been using the almighty American dollar, but Obama wasn’t nice enough to give us coins to go with his money. Yes, our biggest problem is that Obama didn’t give us change! To alleviate the problem of change, our government decided to give us bond coins last year which come in denominations of one, five, 10, and 25 cents.
Excuse the pun but this doesn’t make any sense. We have a lot of South African Rand coins to use as change, so one of two things are happening: one, someone decided to print a truck load of monopoly money and is conning us into giving him real money while we remain with whatever a bond coin is (read: pretend money). This has happened before, ask any Zimbabwean who was around circa-2008 what “burning” money is and they’ll tell you. The second possibility is that they are smuggling the Zim dollar back into circulation by creating a parallel economy, which pretends to be at par with the America dollar. I wholeheartedly wish the latter is true and comes to fruition. Excuse my blasé attitude, but if there is anything you learn from living in Zimbabwe it’s that pessimism is the secret to happiness.
Alas, January is that time of year our bank statements scream, ‘What the hell where you thinking?’ Smart boy that I am though, I have some money stored in a vault somewhere to loan to that unfortunate fool who was more irresponsible than I was. If you’re short on school fees you’re welcome to come and get a loan at 30 percent interest per month. (Bring your child as collateral). We will feed him well, but if you don’t pay me back by March…No, never mind, it’s too early in the year for any kind of controversy. However, you can bet there will be a lot of it in Mugabe’s country.
So yeah, there will be controversy aplenty this year and the speculation about the Zim dollar is not the only show in town so to speak. Word on the street is it that Bob wants to retire this year, or the next, but there really is no telling with the president. ZANU-PF did endorse him as its 2018 presidential candidate in December after all. Apparently he wants to sit and spend the rest of his days enjoying the company of his lovely wife, Dr. Grace. I doubt that’s going to go well for him, given her newly found political ambition.
She’s clearly starting to run things. She made the sitting head-of-state mark her PHD dissertation (where in the world has that ever happened?), and when he started blabbering too loud addressing delegates at the ZANU-PF congress in December last year she passed him a note which more or less read: “Shut up and sit down.” And Bob did just that. So clearly, while her husband is plotting his way out, she is in the bloom of her political career. Some publications are already calling her ‘The Prime Minister’ of Zimbabwe.
In the meantime, I continue to hate the holiday season, as it kills the pretentiousness in men such as myself. We have a tendency to go crazy during the festive season, and the African summer doesn’t make matters any easier. I got up to my fair share of nonsense over the Christmas break: public drinking in front of a bottle store with my tennis shoes laced like a corset, in case I had to make a run for it. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have bothered as the cops were too busy putting up roadblocks, and demanding bribes to care about anything else.
Something to care about in 2015 is change in the country (or lack thereof). Question: what happens when the drain is blocked and there is a lot of pressure then you suddenly unblock it? Ah, let me not give away too much of the script but Zimbabwe is about to get really interesting considering the political and economic pressure the country faces this year.