Dear Minister Ignatius Chombo,
We see you have been trying to scare the economy back into shape. Stop. It never works.
On Sunday, after a day of panic buying in the shops, you released a statement written in the finger-wagging tradition of most Government statements over the past two decades.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs’ attention has been drawn to a sudden spate of irresponsible press and social media reports falsely claiming that there is chaos in the currency markets that has precipitated widespread panic buying of basic commodities due to their alleged shortage or skyrocketing prices.”
And then you go on:
“Of grave concern to the ministry is that these reports have all the trappings of a politically coordinated criminal agenda by some well-known renegades and malcontents who now seek to disturb the peace in the country to cause alarm and despondency in pursuit of an alleged political programme.”
You say that “the running thread of these hyperbolic press and social media reports was their propaganda that the country had suddenly slipped back to the hyperinflationary days of 2008”.
You then warn that all this scaremongering is a “punishable” criminal offence. You then wagged your finger at social media and the press, saying that you are monitoring us with a view to “deal a telling blow.”
You then end with an ominous “everyone should thus be guided accordingly”.
These are scary words coming from the man in charge of the police, especially those as handcuff-happy as ours.
You just don’t get it.
People have reason to panic. And the reason is the actions and inaction, past and present, of the government.
First, Zimbabweans have been through economic hell, and memories are still fresh. Secondly, and more worryingly, nobody appears to be in charge over there in government.
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