BY KENNETH MUFUKA
I am writing from Dubai in the Middle East. One of the admirable qualities of Muslim society is their harsh treatment of malefactors. I was surprised to find that children leave their bicycles outside for the night and there were no policemen in the streets.
As I sat at the feet of a Muslim Imam (teacher) my admiration increased. It seemed to me that unless we take a zero tolerant attitude to the money changers in our society, who are in cahoots with the Reserve Bank, we can say goodbye to the Zimbabwe dollar. We will be prisoners to the US dollar.
Despite their much learning, the three musketeers at the Zimbabwe treasury do not bamboozle me. The secret is in plain sight for all to see. If you were on the favoured list and were allowed access to US dollars through the auction system, you can make money without working.
Take a batch of US$10 million which you buy at say $100 per dollar. Take that money to the black market and sell it at $300 per dollar and then fly to Dubai to bank your proceeds.
The reason such a dastardly scheme works is that you and I (Ken Mufuka) cannot go to the Reserve Bank and buy say US$10 000, which is the small amount we cannot afford. Therefore, you have a class of favoured moguls who swim in money, but the money has been generated on their behalf by the Reserve Bank. We are not fools; we can read between the lines.
Unless there is new thinking in Zimbabwean leadership to the effect that certain people and certain actions that have destroyed people’s wealth should not be tolerated, we will continue to run in circles. Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere in a speech at the University of the West Indies (1974) said that they found themselves running in a circle and returning to where they had started.
This happened in 2007. So, we know how the system works.
One must give credit to Zanu PF for repeating the same trick twice.
The second part of the game is that the perpetrators are not punished. While it is true that an exchange rate reflects the strength of the economy, the Zimbabwe economy is 70% underground, with the support of the government.
Switzerland has a population of six million and no minerals at all. It has only six industries, Nestle Milk Products, Bourneville Chocolate, Swiss watches, Bern Medical Instruments, and the Swiss Banks. Yet, at every global airport, the Swiss franc is available and interchangeable.
Zimbabwe authorities say that we have the second largest lithium and diamond deposits in the world and so much gold that the name Shona means land of gold. Historians say Shona women wore gold and copper beads around their waits as an anti-dote against early pregnancy.
Dubai in the Middle East has banks which give out gold coins (some say the gold is from Zimbabwe).
Government says that US$100 million finds its way out of the country illicitly. That is hiding behind big words. Sister Henrietta Rushwaya had within her purse six gold bars on her way to Dubai. When one turns a newspaper page, it would be unusual if there is no announcement of the government being “prejudiced” of millions of dollars. There is no secret there.
The Swiss economy is well managed and income averages US$100 000 per person. We are 20 times more blessed than they are and our income is below starvation level for half the population.
The three Musketeers at the Reserve Bank are acting out and cutting up. Take the example of the Confederation of Zimbabwe industries (CZI).
Their brief to the Reserve Bank was very simple. A company director cannot plan more than a week ahead if he does not know what the value of his income will be or what the prices of his inputs will be. One does not need a PhD in econometrics (Professor Mthuli Ncube) to know such simple truths of life.
If we know the people who are putting the lives of 15 million Zimbabweans in danger, my Muslim guide asked me, surely then least that should happen to them is to be locked up, otherwise they should be shot.
Economic crimes are worse than murder. In the industrial revolution in England (1850) an engineer found carrying blueprints of manufacturing plants as he boarded a boat to the US was put to death.
We need a Zimbabwe dollar. The use of the US dollar will destroy banks. With experience, Zimbabweans will hide their US dollars under their beds in fear of government stealing or confiscating their money in the banks.
I understand perfectly why Standard Chartered Bank, the largest bank in Southern Africa has left.
Let us say two months ago Standard Chartered made a profit of $100 million. As it distributes the dividends, the money will have lost half its value. Secondly, if some of its shareholders are outside Zimbabwe, they cannot access their money. Such investments are as good as useless. Why is this difficult to see?
The question is very simple. If we know who these people are, why are they allowed to act up and cut up and walk in the streets as free as birds of the air? I am thinking seriously of becoming a Muslim.
We are all agreed that sovereignty requires some semblance of control over the currency within the borders of a country. If all things are normal, a sovereign country can print 10% over the gross income of its country without anybody noticing the difference.
In 2007, the Reserve Bank printed a $10 billion note. At that time, a savings plan by Central Africa Building Society (CABS) had encouraged customers to join a millionaire’s club. A bi-weekly savings of $200 for 20 years would create a million-dollar account at retirement.
By printing a $10 billion dollar note, all our savings were destroyed. The printer of that note is still walking the streets.
The least we can do is to lock them up. Allah be praised, such perpetrators need not be tried. It makes a mockery of the law. They will hire an intellectually compromised professor from the University of Zimbabwe, who will use the Stalingrad method.
The Stalingrad method calls for delays, delays, and delays until nobody knows what the crime was all about, and witnesses have died.
At the end of my journey, I was almost converted to Islam.
- Professor Ken Mufuka will be making a lecture tour beginning in Kenya. He will address a convocation of pastors on: “Suffering under Grace: The African American experience.” Archbishop Manasseh Mankuleyo of Faith Evangelical Church at Ngong will preside. He will be in Zimbabwe July 1-30. Contact number Zimbabwe: 77-694-1670