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A lesson from Binga . . .

24 Oct, 2018 - 23:10 0 Views

The Herald

Victoria Ruzvidzo In Focus
The past week has been one of hyper economic activities where we have seen scores of people jostling for cooking oil and other basics to the extent of damaging property.

We have also seen foreign currency traders on the black market playing hide-and-seek with authorities and where one Acie Lumumba has again become the talk of the town after releasing names of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe directors said to have been engaging in corrupt activities and fuelling the black market. He himself was also shown the door yesterday.

All this in a day’s work. Will the economy emerge the victor after all is said and done?

Indeed, the economy has been facing immense challenges that have worsened over the past month or so. Too much has been happening, complicating an already precarious situation that threatens to hand us a bleak festive period.

Prices have gone up to unimaginable levels. It is amazing how something that was selling for $27 bond now fetches US$27. Something that cost $4 bond now going for US$4. Of course, officially we have been told the rate remains at 1:1 between the bond note and the US dollar but this is only being applied by retailers when they change prices. If you want to pay in bond you are asked to multiply the US figure by four of even five in some instances. In others they will not hear of the bond note, all they want is the greenback.

The simple question to ask is how does a person earning bond notes be asked to pay for almost everything in US dollars? How does this add up? And in instances where a few are fortunate enough to be earning the US dollars or having a bit sent by relatives from the Diaspora, the prices are just too high.

Last week President Mnangagwa said the economy was under siege from people creating artificial shortages and a black market economy. Who would deny that given the developments on the ground? Some of the things just do not make sense. However, my fear and that of many I have spoken to is that it is under siege from its own citizenry who have become so myopic that we do things that will come back to haunt us.

We hoard cooking oil at $3,75 so that we can sell it to our neighbour for $10. We buy Mazoe syrups for about $3 but sell them for $10 to the next person? That is not what entrepreneurship is about. At the end of the day there is more panic in the economy, prices go further up and we all grumble and mourn. In the meantime we are scaring away investors who are keen to help this country recover. We have always known that capital is timid. It flies out at the earliest signs of danger.

But is there danger in this country or it’s something superficial created by a whole chain where  greedy customers hoard stuff and then blame retailers  who then point the finger at manufacturers. The blame game is not funny and it does not help the situation at all.

At some point we sympathised with those that were hoarding whatever was available because the situation caused panic and uncertainty hence the need to stock for the future just in case, but it is this very practice that then worsens the situation.

For instance, the fuel situation has remained precarious because everyone in the queue is filling their tank hence supplies run out quickly. But ordinarily motorists sometimes just buy enough to get by because they know they can always drive in and get more once the gauge creeps towards Empty.

So it’s a chicken and egg situation where supplies are needed to stop the panic and yet the panic needs to stop so that there is better product availability and sensible buying patterns. These are complex challenges that will not be solved by the Government alone but require both corporates and individuals to sober up and seek to do that which brings a better economy tomorrow.

A fish called the electric eel commonly found in the Amazon is mostly blind but this is not a birth defect.

We are told that the fish has three pairs of abdominal organs that produce electricity as a defence mechanism against predators. Whenever it is under attack it produces an electric field of more than 800 volts to electrocute its attacker. Due to this and the fact that the fish always fees vulnerable because it has to rise to the surface every 10 minutes to take in oxygen, it is always electrocuting its environment and in the process its eyes are also electrocuted.

The cyclic paranoia and the self-inflicted pain causes it to become permanently blind! Relate this to what is happening to the economy. Many are trying to get the bigger part of the cake by hoarding, raising prices, causing havoc on the illegal foreign currency market but hurting the economy and themselves in the process.

The selfish behaviour then comes back to haunt everyone including the perpetrators themselves.

We applaud the lifting of the import ban on most basic commodities announced on Tuesday. While local firms may cry foul, Government has been left with no choice but to ensure that the nation is fed, at least.

Within a few days the market will be flooded with cooking oil, sugar, cement, body creams, wheat flour and a host of other products that had either become scarce or were being sold at very high prices. At least this will deal with the supply side and the pricing.

Simple economics dictates that increased supply will result in reduced prices. This should put those retailers and manufacturers that were profiteering in their rightful place.

We also applaud measures being taken to provide funds to the productive sector so that they can retool and become more competitive. Particularly those that are genuine in their operations.

This economy needs to come right. We need not lose focus on our responsibility to create the Zimbabwe we want. Government must not sleep until solutions are found and so should it be with all stakeholders. Sometimes it is better to sacrifice an immediate gain for long-term prosperity hence the need for all of us to behave in a manner that aids economic recovery.

Below is a beautiful story of some Tonga girls from Binga. We can all learn from it:


A very nice story from BINGA, ZIMBABWE, Africa . . .

The motivation behind the Ubuntu culture in BINGA . . .

An anthropologist proposed a game to the TONGA tribal children . . ..

He placed a basket of sweets near a tree. And made the children stand 100 metres away from the tree.

Then he announced that, whoever becomes the first person to reach where the sweets are, would get all the sweets in the basket.

When he said: On your mark, get set, ready go. . .!

Do you know what these children did??

They all held each other’s hands and ran together towards the tree. They then shared the sweets equally among themselves, ate the sweets and enjoyed themselves very well.

When the anthropologist asked them why they did so,

They all? answered ?”Ubuntu”.

Which means:-

How can one be happy when the others are sad??

Ubuntu in their language means: –

”I am because we are”?

This is a strong message for all generations. Let all of us always have this attitude and spread happiness wherever we go.

Let’s have an ‘Ubuntu” Life . . .


In God I trust!

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