Home Columns Letter From Zimbabwe Not yet uhuru

Not yet uhuru

Not yet uhuru
LOSING VALUE FAST: People comparing the RTGS to the American currency

There was very little reason to celebrate yesterday (Thursday 18) as Zimbabwe marked 39 years of independence.

With each passing day, the country seems to be sinking deeper into the mire with no prospect of any positives.

Fuel queues are still the order of the day, despite a massive price hike in January which the government, in its ‘wisdom’, had hoped would somehow solve the crisis.

Cash is still elusive and masses continue to spend long hours in banks hoping to make withdrawals.

And as if we don’t have enough problems already, on Tuesday, we woke to up to a steep increase in bread prices.

We now have to part with $3.50 (about P8.00) for a loaf of bread, up from $1.80.

This may appear to be a reasonable price when converted to the local currency but here in Zim $3.50 for a loaf of bread is way too much. Most people will barely afford to buy it every day since it is more of a staple food.

By the way, the price of mealie meal also went up last week after the government more than doubled the producer price of maize.

It baffles the mind as to how the powers that be arrived at this decision! Obviously when the government ups the producer price of maize, it means the grain board will also pass the cost to the consumer.

Considering this is a drought year, this was surely not necessary.

One might be tempted to think the leadership finds joy in ordinary people’s misery because most of the decisions they make hit the masses hard.

As for the local currency, it has lost so much value against the US dollars and other major currencies in the last couple of days – it’s actually scary to think what the future holds for it.

Since the government officially declared that the bond, which they prefer to call RTGS, is no longer at par with the American dollar, the former has been losing value at an alarming rate.

At the moment, US$1 is equivalent to RTGS $4.50 in the black market and unless a miracle happens, it will in no time hit the 1:10 mark.

That would be total disaster as it would take the country back into the hyper-inflation era.

I will not talk of the official rate because it’s of no regard as the markets are determined by the black market.

So, with all these things happening in the country, there really was nothing much worth celebrating this Independence. Yes there is social freedom but economically, we are as good as enslaved and yet to get our uhuru.

But since they say life begins at 40, maybe, just maybe, next year the majority of Zimbabweans will begin to live better lives.

Not that there is anything expected to happen but I am trying to be positive and looking ahead with an optimistic mind.

After all, who would have thought that one day Robert Mugabe would be referred to as the former president in his lifetime?

So yes, strange, unexpected and wonderful things can and do happen.

Hopefully some big change will take place again in the near future which would lead to the economic independence of the masses.

We surely deserve such.

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