Our central bank introduced a new $50 note on Wednesday, a development which is both good and bad at the same time.
Positive in the sense that we will no longer have to carry loads of money since inflation had basically eroded the value of the existing notes.
A loaf of bread costs ZWL$100 meaning that one had to have either 20 of the $5 notes, 10 – $10 notes and if lucky, five of the $20 notes, which have been the highest denomination.
So you can imagine how we are coping with carrying anything more than ZWL$1, 000! For men, their wallets have been rendered useless.
This brings me to the ugly side of the development.
You see, Zimbabwe doesn’t have a normal economy if I may say. Botswana has the P200 note, which is very much okay.
But I tell you, if our government had to introduce that high denomination, it would spell disaster just as the introduction of the $50 has already triggered inflation.
Black market rates have already shot up and it is only a matter of time before prices of goods and services also go up.
By month end, this new ZWL$50 might not even be enough to buy a banana.
Zimbabwe’s economic history has taught us that introduction of higher notes triggers hyperinflation hence the negativity towards such.
Remember how we have been the poorest of millionaires – sadly that history might repeat itself.
Oh, and by the way, the new note has among features a motif of Mbuya Nehanda, a ‘revered’ spirit medium murdered more than a century ago.
She was hanged by white settlers because of her influence to mobilize masses against the colonial masters.
A statue was recently erected in Harare’s CBD in her honour and traditional rites were performed to allegedly invoke her spirit to turn around the economy.
So maybe, just maybe, things will work this time around since this is the first time they have openly invoked spirit of the dead, even putting her face to a note.
They expect us to believe such things work so we will wait and see.
Meanwhile, the government has tightened lockdown rules as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
People are now be expected to move around with exemption letters to show cause why they are on the road and not home.
While this is not new, most people criticised the way the measure was announced, on Tuesday evening and with immediate effect, meaning that people who had to go to work the following morning were caught unawares.