The talk is that these bills are being transferred into big-wig bank accounts (people like Gono and his crew) which are swelling fast with Zim dollars.
People are speculating that these individuals, who have already enriched themselves at the expense of the Zimbabwe economy, are readying themselves for the day the Ministry of Finance decides on a rate to reimburse all those people who had Zim dollars in their account shortly before dollarisation.
As worthless as the Zimbabwe dollar was at the time, it is acknowledged that the switch to a different currencies left those who only had Zim dollars, and no US or Rands, with a disadvantage.
So the thinking on the streets is that Gono and his sordid crew are packing their accounts to the gills with local currency which they plan to exchange for the real-deal – US dollars – when the reimbursement rate is announced.
Currency manipulation wouldn’t be a new trick in their books and their past antics explain why Zimbabweans are so suspicious of them.
Prior to dollarisation Gono and Co. had access to lots and lots of Zimbabwe dollars (while ordinary people had to queue for days and days at the banks to get their hands on a few notes at a time) and they also had access to foreign currency at a very favourable government rate. What they did was buy up foreign currency at a low rate, and then sell it on the streets at a much higher rate for a lot more Zim dollars, and then roll those Zim dollars into buying more currency which they would sell again, rapidly (and I mean rapidly!) enriching themselves.
The new reimbursement rate has yet to be announced and one of the reasons is we think Tendia Biti is looking hard into who was ripping the system in those days and who was not. Will heads roll? Probably not – a fact Zimbabweans are finding very difficult to swallow indeed. And that fact that the principle agent of our economy’s downfall has managed to escape accountability makes the rest of us think he’ll begin to believe he leads a charmed life, and more likely to carry on trying to steal from the people.
Its clear from the chat in town, that when there’s talk of new cash around – especially crisp wads of Zimbabwe dollars – people immediately swing their minds to the myriad of ways the corrupt Zanu PF loyalists will trip over themselves to try and exploit it to their advantage, and to the disadvantage of the nation.
If public opinion was something Zanu PF cared about, then the lack of trust that surrounds them and their activities would be something they tried very hard to address.
The other Gono related joke causing much amusement is the news that he has been given the role of Secretary for Finance in Zanu PF Manicaland Province. Everyone responds immediately with the words “Good, they can have him!”
Most of us are hoping Gono will be as efficient at looting Zanu PF coffers as he was the nation’s. Maybe then Zanu PF will have less money to pay the youth militia who go around beating us up and ruining our lives! Zvakwana