Back to 2008 all over again

HARARE - With the country continuing on its precipitous economic decline marked by a biting liquidity crunch, worsening company closures, diabolic job losses, acute cash shortages, soaring basic food prices and looming mass starvation, Zimbabweans are fretting that the horror of 2007/08 has revisited the country.

Then, the much-derided Zim dollar began its slaloming run towards its burial as the twin scourges of world-record hyper-inflation and food shortages — widely-blamed on the incompetence of the Zanu PF government — combined to deliver a deadly and unforgettable blow to long-suffering citizens.

Both political and economic analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said it was entirely understandable that the recent resurgence of long, winding queues at banks and supermarkets, as well as the rising prices of basic foodstuffs had re-ignited palpable fear among Zimbabweans that the country had plumbed the debilitating economic depths of eight years ago.

The analysts also agreed that President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF were solely to blame for what one of them described as “a perennial man-made economic crisis” — in the wake of the ruling party continuously implementing failed policies for the past 36 years.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said in the absence of renewed political leadership in the country, the lot of the average Zimbabweans was in fact set to be worse off than in 2008, when citizens would carry wheelbarrows of cash around with them, using trillion-dollar notes, to pay for a few groceries.

“No rocket science is needed to see that there is an economic implosion in Zimbabwe right now. The wheels have come off. The national economy, or rather the little that is left of it, has virtually collapsed.

“The financial levers are off. The Zanu PF regime is dead broke. The national treasury is dry. To imagine that there is less than $15 million that is presently circulating within the formal sector in Zimbabwe is like watching a horror movie,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News.

He also warned ominously that Zimbabweans should brace themselves for not just a replay of the heart-rending 2008 “economic disaster, but much worse”.

“Goods will soon disappear from the shops and already, there is a thriving black market for hard currency. Dealers are selling US dollars at a premium. Both the micro and macro-economic fundamentals have gone topsy-turvy.

“Zimbabwe is crying out for a new administration that will institute urgent measures to resuscitate the comatose economy, stimulate economic growth by repealing the Stalinist so-called indigenisation law warts and all, and also adopt policies that respect and uphold property rights as well as the rule of law.

“For as long as the rogue and clueless Zanu PF regime remains in power, the country is truly doomed,” Gutu said.

Buy Zimbabwe chief economist Kipson Gundani said there was an urgent need for a policy rethink in government to encourage economic revival.

“If I were the Reserve Bank governor I would suspend the bond notes issue and first engage the public.

“Our economy is ill due to lack of confidence. Economies are run on confidence and at the moment most people do not trust the present system and that is why there is a run on banks,” he said.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) national spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, said at the rate at which Zanu PF continued to mismanage the economy, the country is set to record a negative three percent growth rate in 2016.

“Industry is far from recovering and the few companies that are operating will face serious hurdles from the planned reintroduction of the moribund Zimbabwean dollar in the form of obscure and illegal bond notes.

“The cost of electricity is also set to be hiked and thus push up further the cost of production and render the economy uncompetitive,” he said, also noting that as long as the indigenisation law remained intact, it would be “impossible even to the most adventurous investor to inject capital into Zimbabwe”.

“This is despite attempts by … Mugabe to hoodwink investors by claiming that he had clarified them. What is needed is not clarification but total repeal of the law as it is just a smoke screen to cover up extortion, looting and blatant corruption,” he added.

Mafume also called on Mugabe and Zanu PF to resign to allow Zimbabwe to heal and the economy to prosper.

A survey conducted by the Daily News on Tuesday showed that the prices of many basic foodstuffs had recently risen by at least 20 percent, while supermarkets had begun imposing a limit on the quantity of basic goods that individuals could buy.

For example, a two-litre bottle of cooking oil, which was going for an average of $2,99 on Friday last week, is now retailing for up to $3,60 — while foreign cooking oil brands have vanished from the country’s supermarket shelves altogether.

United Refineries chief executive Busisa Moyo told the Daily News that the cooking oil shortages that were being experienced were due to delays in payments to raw material suppliers.

“We are very concerned about the issue because payments are not being prioritised and payments are not going through fast enough despite the fact that we are in the top 10 of the central bank’s Import Priority list,” he said.

Moyo also noted that cooking oil producers were anticipating a 30 percent slump from the current 8 000 to 10 000 metric tonnes being produced, due to ongoing cash shortages.

Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) president Sylvester Mangani echoed Moyo’s sentiments at a ministry of Industry meeting last Friday, saying the situation — if it continued unabated — would lead to a serious shortage of the commodity.

Disgruntled citizens interviewed by the Daily News said they were now resorting to hoarding most basic commodities in preparation for the looming food shortages.

“We have heard rumours that there is going to be major price increases on most basic commodities, as well as shortages because of low or no imports.
“As such, we are buying things like maize-meal, flour, cooking oil, rice and sugar among others, ahead of the expected price increases,” said a shopper who only identified himself as Mapfumo.

The latest development comes after the prices of other basic goods such as maize-meal and salt have also been increasing steadily.

Zimbabwe, which is battling an economic recession after failing to register significant growth since 2013 when Mugabe and Zanu PF romped to a hotly-disputed election victory, is in turmoil after the desperate central bank introduced a raft of measures to deal with the cash shortages last month, including limiting daily cash withdrawals.

The May 4, 2016 measures that included a proposal to introduce bond notes have seen depositors embarking on panicky withdrawals, fearing a return of the discredited Zimbabwean dollar.

Comments (30)

indeed 2007/8! why not at the end of the day?

SaManyika Chaiye - 2 June 2016

There is no central bank governor. There is just a ZANU PF shadow and ZANU PF thugs are leading in the self destructive thinking by rolling out short sighted policies and activities. If we had a central bank governor, we would not be back to 2008 crisis in such a short time.

Zvichapera - 2 June 2016

Well said dailynews. You always seem to be well ahead of other so called newspapers. This is the truth. Pure and simple. Thank you.

W. Garwe - 2 June 2016

I concur with W Garwe, the current economic and political scenarios point towards that unforgettable and unpleasant episode,no two ways about it.

Gen. Spinola - 2 June 2016

the armageddon and doomsday analyst on this platform must be havingfield day thinking the country has reached melting point,they celebrate the challanges faced by the people due to the sanctions regime,unbeknown to the fools,the president is a holder of seven academic degrees and economics is one of them,as a country we have overcome colonialism,we defeated UDI and we shall overcome these hardships that burden us at the instigation of tsvangison

truth - 2 June 2016

we are not going anywhere as Zimbabweans until we identify the root cause of this crisis and deal with it and the center of all these troubles is the prolonged stay of president Mugabe on power, leading a government that enjoys corruption at the expense of innocent civilians. Zimbabweans we are in a sinking ship and the captains of the sinking ship don't even care because they are wearing life jackets. keep it up daily news we enjoy your undiluted journalism

tad - 2 June 2016

we are not going anywhere as Zimbabweans until we identify the root cause of this crisis and deal with it and the center of all these troubles is the prolonged stay of president Mugabe on power, leading a government that enjoys corruption at the expense of innocent civilians. Zimbabweans we are in a sinking ship and the captains of the sinking ship don't even care because they are wearing life jackets. keep it up daily news we enjoy your undiluted journalism

tad - 2 June 2016

Mr Truth...seven degrees yes...I think their is a giant chasm between education and wisdom. The real truth is big houses, fat bank balances, farms for the fat cats. Poverty for us all

Zum - 2 June 2016

Ignore Truth's morbid rantings, why do you guys dignify him by even bothering to answer? Can you not detect the shrillness is his message or is it already madness

abishai - 2 June 2016

if people have fewer cash at their disposal buying power reduces then prices will come down,this is the idea behind all this life is just too expensive because we could afford now we wont be hence the US dollar gets its real worth

just saying - 2 June 2016

I had a heated debate with former colleague when Gono assumed Reserve Bank Governor. My argument then was 2 fold a) Gono had never demonstrated acumen to run successful enterprise outside of commandeered civil servants into CBZ where he was CEO and therefore had no demonstrable competency b) Gono will operate under moribund and fossilised policy postures of ZANU PF whose fiscal policy proposals will negate any prudent monetary policy instruments proposed by RBZ. The mere fact that Gono then and Magundya now (from same CBZ) accept the position of Governor tells a complete story about the 2 characters. A COMPLETE FLOP! The very cogs that were at RBZ then are still intact; save for Kereke and how do we then expect miracles!

Save - 2 June 2016

@save,well said but yu 4get to mention that gono and mangudya are just symptoms of the bigger problem,we have multidudes of shonas in strategic positions who are clueless and owe their appointments to ethnicity over competency

jojo - 2 June 2016

history always repeat itself

john rambo - 2 June 2016

When will Zimbabweans ever learn? You are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past until you deselect this regime. How much pain must you suffer until you say Enough!

Rhinohorn - 2 June 2016

Until those young thugs in zanupf who participate in useless one million ....for someone who is 93yrs old realise that its them who are being disadvantaged and will not get anything from zanupf. Young people of Zimbabwe there is a better life for you outside zanupf. With the country in the hands of zanupf you can't even feed your family and what are your children's future like. Anything NOT zanupf is better for now.

anywhere anytime - 2 June 2016

@anywhere anytime,there is no better place for us outside the revolutionary party,the president cde RGM is the most benign leader in the whole world,some of us now own farms,hunting concessions and companies,just yesterday i got a phone call from a permsec asking to come and collect a fishing licence to place a fishing rig in the zambezi in binga,we will forever vote zanu as it empowers us

truth - 2 June 2016

Shamefully I agree with Donald Trump that Africans are specialists at Sex, Crime, Chicanery, Stupidity et al.We just don't seem to have it in us to know that communities are there to be served. Constitution are usurped to ensure that we are there in power for life and afterwards our spouses rukle and thern dynasties are created. Its Robert, Grace and Robert Junior as heads of state. I however think this time Robert the megalomaniac dictator, you have lost the plot. You see what happens in advanced age is that what you desire does not necessarily happen. Gravy trains don't last. You can force people to your Million men marches but the forced also have their desires and objectives which will last for the duration of the event. Things like Super , music et al will appeal to those loafers who have nothing to do. Any "free benefit" will appeal whilst you think its a show of support. Robert age has eclipsed your judgement to an extent that you have torn to shreds whatever legacy you used to have. Canaan Banana who you despised will prove to be a knight in shining armour. Your brains went from between your legs to the ICU. The Jezebel you took from Goreraza has been your undoing. Foolish old shit.

rudi - 2 June 2016

Truth, be advised that telling lies to perpetuate your gravy train status has some serious consequences. We are collecting data on those who have backed this regime to the hilt, especially the young ones, to ensure that they will never have anything to do with a liberated Zimbabwe again. We shall certainly do so. Your evergreen friends , the Chinese were escorted to the airport with billions in their briefcases , through Customs (Zimra) and Immigration, Now suddenly we wonder where the money went. Fuck Robert mwana wa hure Bona

Rudi - 2 June 2016

Its sad whaen you hear a fellow Zimbabwean blaming 'Tsvangson and the so called sanctions on the current state of the economy when in fact we only got to hear of him back in the 90s after someone else had caused food shortages then.Dzorerai UDI yacho tione kuti yaisave nani here!

Chegorerino - 3 June 2016

@Rudi & Chegore...; note that we have a veteran porcher here who prides in a fake hunting licence when infact he/she has vast experience in cyanide handling! he/she panders to all impotent zanu policies in service to an illegal asian ivory cartel that has wiped hundreds of jumbos from zim gameparks and left these ecosystems disturbed by the effects of cyanide poisoning that has contaminated ground water supplies and killed rare & antique fauna & flora. be warned of this diversionist who digress from topics under discussion by throwing meaningless scapegoats & wild rants for the failed zanu & rhobhati's policies.

SaManyika Chaiye - 3 June 2016

Satanic people like Truth whom i would prefer to call Muroyi should just enjoy their ill gotten wealth in silence.Only a few thieves like him are want the current regime to remain in power.this guy is a sick idiot who is worse than Syrian terrorists who are beheading innocent people.no normal person would want a 94 year old for a president even if he was an excellent one.You think because a few of you are beneffiting from the old fool called Bob so everyone must rally behind him.Degrees do not translate to wisdom you stupid imbecile!The new Tanzanian leader might not be very educated but he has proved to be leading using wisdom not degrees.He is a pain in the ass for most African DICTATORS worsestill for leaders like Mugabe.

Janana - 3 June 2016

thanks jojo u r very spot on shonas are good at looting ,enough is enough they must leave those posts , just imagine a 30 year old boy saying mgabe for 2018 elections .lets wake zimbabweans these zanu pf thugs are destroying our future and our childrens future lets act now zimbabweans

safa ngendlala - 3 June 2016

thanks jojo u r very spot on shonas are good at looting ,enough is enough they must leave those posts , just imagine a 30 year old boy saying mgabe for 2018 elections .lets wake zimbabweans these zanu pf thugs are destroying our future and our childrens future lets act now zimbabweans

safa ngendlala - 3 June 2016

@rudi,bring it on,yo MDC will never rule this country even if yo granny menstruates

truth - 3 June 2016

we all get what we ask for,good luck

jack - 3 June 2016

Why do you seem surprised over something which is not supposed to surprise even the dumbest of all dumbs? Rightly so, Zimbos deserve the leadership they choose for themselves, Suffer continue

gabarinocheka - 3 June 2016

why are we crying out loud our president is holding onto power because he is afraid of regime change in zimbabwe.like Libya. Guys do you see that state of the that country its totally chaotic why because of the US regime changes. Why you want to be so rude to the president. the man did not ran the economy into the ground we did because we supported the use of US dollar evil money. thats y Russia n China wat to remove it from its imports and exports. I support our president bt not the party Zanu pf chte

zim yedu - 4 June 2016

Suspend elections for the next 7years.Put a GNU in place to sort out the national economic slow-down .Marches,name calling,ranting, political point scoring ,winner take -all will never extricate this country from this looming horror.

Membathisi - 4 June 2016

People like "truth" will wriggle their way into a Tsvangirai led administration and if inadvertently included, they begin to sing their undying love for Tsvangirai and the MDC. They opportunistic prostitutes.

Mr Dete - 4 June 2016

PEOPLE WAKE UP!!! Zanu knows they will lose in 2018 and are just looting as much of YOUR US dollars as they can and are gonna leave you holding worthless bond notes.........

Munashe - 7 June 2016

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