Zimbabwe is in its present state not because authorities have no solutions to the country’s problems but simply because they don’t have the will to solve the problems.

These were the sentiments of one observer as the country groped for a solution to the cash crisis. The observer said in most cases authorities sat on solutions because the crises provided opportunities for some of them, or their colleagues, to make money.

The introduction of bearer’s cheques has proved that the government indeed has solutions to most of the country’s problems but just lacks the will to implement them. Queues have not yet vanished but the situation is definitely improving.

Apparently all the threats and so-called stringent measures to get people the surrender $500 notes or bank “excess” cash had failed. This was probably an indication that money in circulation was no longer enough, but the government was adamant that people were hoarding cash.

There were even whispers that there was no way the old $500 notes would get back to the country. Reports said the notes were being exported as far as the UK where people were extracting gold or silver from the bank notes as it was worth much more than the paper on which it was printed.

These reports said this was one of the reasons why the government had decided to do away with the silver lining on the new $500 note. The whispers said the new $1 000 note, which had a silver lining, was likely to face the same fate as the old $500 note and would soon disappear. People can only wait and see.

For now the jingle about bearer’s cheques has taken over from “Rambai makashinga”. Perhaps even the government believes it is now on top of the situation.

But not everyone sees things that way. Some have dubbed the bearer’s cheques burial orders, implying that these are the last kicks of a dying horse to try to salvage the situation.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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