Almost a month after Zanu-PF and the MDC signed a power-sharing deal, they have not been able to form a government to free ordinary Zimbabweans from their economic misery. The impasse is over allocation of key ministries. Robert Mugabe and his thugs remain stubborn and adamant that key ministries should be controlled by Zanu-PF. As a result the country remains held to ransom by a senile 84-year-old has-been liberation hero and his band of thugs and is unable to progress forward.
All sectors of the economy have collapsed. Government is dysfunctional and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has transformed itself into a mafia headquarters and a printing factory of worthless local currency. The Reserve Bank continues to rob banks of any foreign exchange in order to sustain the livelihood of Mugabe’s cronies. This foreign currency is then replaced at absurd exchange rates with local currency whose usefulness is for rolling joints and lighting fires.
Businesses find it impossible to operate at prevailing pathetic conditions. The entire financial system was disabled by the Reserve Bank when they suspended electronic money transfers, thus crippling businesses already brought to the brink of collapse by rapidly deteriorating hyperinflation, which at end of September was at a staggering 531 000 000 000% (i.e. 531 billion percent for those dizzied by the zeros). Settlement of transactions is an impossible task and suppliers and customers are left in limbo.
Eighty percent (80%) of the population is unemployed and almost seventy percent (70%) live below the poverty line. How ordinary Zimbabweans manage to survive when food prices escalate at a rate of more than ten thousand percent (10 000%) a month is only miraculous. Goods and services are unaffordable in spite of price controls.
Punishment imposed on businesses found charging prices beyond the regulated level may be imprisonment or revocation of trading licence. No business can survive on selling stock below cost and continuously restocking at ever increasing prices. It is of no surprise that retail stores are empty and many are closed.
It is time for Mugabe to stop his nonsense and relinquish control of the key ministries to the MDC in order to allow aid to start flowing into the country and help restart a collapsed economy. A broad framework for government has been agreed on and it is now incumbent upon both Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai to sort the Zimbabwean mess and not depend on being baby-sat by a representative of the SADC. If these leaders are unable to find a solution to their problems, they must allow those who can to step in and help poor Zimbabweans out of their tragedy.