Gono the genius, what genius?

OPINION – It is amazing how some Zimbabweans live in our economically defeated country, Zimbabwe, the cruel, beloved homeland.

None other than Eric Bloch, advisor to ‘our governor’ Gideon Gono, claims the man is a ‘genius.’ I hope Bloch, a supposedly seasoned economist of many years standing, was speaking tongue-in-cheek, as they say. But if he meant it, one has to review Gono’s so-called achievements that might have earned that accolade.

It could be that Mr Bloch spoke tongue-in-cheek, as they say, in the Shakespearean way of calling the murderers of Caesar honourable men.

If that is the case, yes, Dr Gono is a genius, if we want to be reckless with words. The evidence is there for all to see.

First, he is such a brainy man he has managed, in a short period of time, to teach even illiterate villagers what ‘hyper-hyperinflation’ is all about. Before Gono, not many people knew that horrible word. But now everyone who deals with money knows fully well what hyperinflation is all about, including children who can barely read.

With it, Dr Gono invented a 50 trillion or so bank note never heard of anywhere in the world. It is reasonable to imagine that he was already preparing to print a 50 quintillion dollar note whose zeros can be lined up right across any Zimbabwean city with more zeros to spare.

Dr Gono also went ahead and wiped ordinary people’s savings in one fell swoop. All of a sudden the banks were no longer places where you entered with a smile. People became afraid to be insulted by standing in a bank queue knowing that the bags of money they will come out with are worthless pieces of shame. Those who would have boasted of having millions in the bank found they were poorer than a church mouse. The villager who had a few chickens roaming the yard was much richer and happier.

It is a work of genius, indeed, when the central bank chief takes over the work of government ministers, dishing out farm machinery and inputs as if the minister of agriculture were on sick leave pending retirement. Dr Gono’s genius goes further: he decided to pay farmers not with cash as promised, but with fertilizers and seed. That means if the farmer wants to send his children to school, he would have to pay in bags of fertilizer or seed.

As can already be seen, teachers and heads of schools have followed Dr Gono’s example by demanding school fee payment in goats, sheep, cows, and grain. That phenomenon is the inspiration of “Our Great Governor”. We can now pay our airfares in goats, sheep, cows, grain and many other things which would never fit in a till. Even the sick might have to bring a cage full of chickens to pay for medication which is not even there. What a genius!

Our genius governor does not mind schools being closed for lack of basic equipment and teachers. His great brain tells him to give all the money solely to Zanu-PF politicians. In the process, having been the University of Zimbabwe Chairman of Council, he allows that same institution to collapse while he takes his own children to some far away lands to study. He does not think the University of Zimbabwe, where he got his honorary doctorate, is worth his own children’s education.

It is such an act of genius when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe appoints none other than Mr Joseph Chinotimba onto the board of advisors at the bank. What expertise Mr Chinotimba brings to the bank would need only a genius to figure out.

As governor of genius, Dr Gono was highly praised by his principal, Mr Mugabe, BA, BEd, LLB, MSc, Black Belt, etc for throwing away any textbook monetary ideas and policies. All Dr Gono needed, as a genius, was some kind of economic black belt to bash the economy beyond recognition. That is genial!

From the history of geniuses, we learn that most of them were adamant in terms of the discipline of their field of study. Imagine if Dr Albert Einstein had listened to some cheer leader and thrown away the knowledge of his science in order to satisfy his principals! Imagine if Mozart had thrown away his genial mind and allowed himself to be taught musical composition by some good-for-nothing composer!

Dr Gono’s economic genius has managed to send a larger percentage of economically productive citizens away from his karate economics than war. But since geniuses are not far from madness, it might be sensible to argue that this monetary policy genius leave office and leave the job to someone who can follow some basic textbook rules with some positive results.

Even Messrs Bloch and Chinotimba’s monetary genius is deeply in question since they gave advice which led to the total collapse of the local currency. It might be that their brief was to assist “Our Governor” work out the fastest way of destroying the economy. Those advisors should probably also pack their bags and relieve us of their genial monetary advice.

His advisors should have whispered in his ear that he is not “Our Governor”, but the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. It takes genius to blur the difference.

But we know, for sure, that when stories of monetary policy geniuses are written, the name of Dr Gideon Gono, will not be among them, even as a footnote. This article was originally published by The Zimbabwe Times