The politics of money

21 07 2007

I have just had a interesting chat with a supplier’s wife who has a contact within the Reserve Bank and due to the nature of her business has other contacts with the RBZ. As usual the talk got onto economics and politics and the topic of the Z$250:US$1 exchange rate came up as being the single most damaging issue in the economy (40% of all exports must be changed with the RBZ at this rate when the black market rate is around 200000:1 and more). She has brought this issue up with the various RBZ officials whom she knows and they have wasted no time distancing themselves from it. The orders come down from On High and no matter how daft, they have to be adhered to – or else. So, until His Nibs moves on the destruction will continue. That’s not to say that a lot of those With Connections don’t have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Earlier this week I had a letter from the local ZANU-PF (ruling party) branch informing me that there is to be a meeting on Sunday at a local farm and “Everyone in our constituency is required to attend this meeting.  This includes commercial farmers”. My first thought was of course f*&#k you but then I gave it a bit more thought. Maybe this would be a good time to get to “know the enemy”. Then I thought it was not such a good idea as I am a bit provocative and would not be able to resist saying pretty much what was on my mind.  In the end I have been rescued from the dilemma by Debbi who wants me to go and take photos at a gym function which sounds a lot more fun and not quite so boring. I was more than a little irritated by some of the wording “Your provincial leadership would like to address you on a number of issues”. I can guess – we need money, and anyway, “MY leadership”? I don’t think so. Oh, and there was also the issue of providing transport. I showed the letter to all my staff who were less than enthused and suggested that someone at least should go though I cannot force anyone (fear of repercussions should do the rest). I have ignored these summons in the past with little comeback but with the ship leaking badly… Who knows?

Interestingly the paper is photocopied onto the back of a spreadsheet printout detailing fuel usage from bulk tanks. ZANU-PF doing fuel stock controls? Unlikely, but not nearly as ironic as the ZANU-PF logo on the letterhead picturing the tower of the central enclosure at Great Zimbabwe (previously known as Zimbabwe Ruins) under which is the slogan “Unity Peace and Development”. I kid you not.

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