Can someone in ICU be ‘doing very well’?

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube actually believes Zimbabwe’s economy is “doing very well”.

SO, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube actually believes Zimbabwe’s economy is “doing very well”.


Sometimes I am really tempted to think that he is deliberately seeking to deceive in such obvious and unashamed ways.

When I heard the excitable Ncube speaking in a news report over the weekend, I could not believe the audacity of the man.

What economy was he referring to?

As he was talking about the local economy, I wondered in which Zimbabwe is he residing.

Maybe he spent too much time in Switzerland — where I understand his family is domiciled — that he is far removed from the realities of the ordinary citizenry of the country he is Finance minister of.

As I was following Ncube’s wild claims, an image began forming in my mind.

I visualised a patient suffering from a debilitating illness — which has rendered them immobile, unable to speak or even eat, and always in excruciating pain — such that they have to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

And then, when relatives come to visit, the medical practitioner tells them that the patient is “doing very well”.

What utter nonsense would that be?

I honestly do not know what Ncube was trying to say, but is there any other meaning to these shocking claims?

Maybe there are those who look at this from a different angle. Nonetheless, as far as I am concerned, there is no ambiguity in such a statement.

It is as clear as day — Ncube said Zimbabwe’s economy was “doing very well”.

Yet the country’s inflation rate, especially that of food, is still one of the highest in the world — up there with Venezuela, Lebanon, Argentina and Suriname.

Our local currency has been one of the most unstable on the planet — at present, hovering around ZWL$7 000 to the greenback.

Yet, the vast majority of workers earn in this useless money, with 77% of all transactions in Zimbabwe being carried out in United States dollars, since most retailers in this highly informal economy are refusing to accept the local currency.

As if that was not bad enough, these Zimdollar salaries are not pegged to US dollars.

As such, the vast majority of workers is earning less than US$100 per month in real terms.

The situation is even worse for pensioners, most of whom are receiving less than US$30 a month.

At least 49% of the population is living in extreme poverty, while two-thirds of the workforce is earning below the poverty datum line.

Furthermore, during the 2022/23 season, more than 3,8 million people in rural areas faced food insecurity and survived on donor assistance.

As a matter of fact, hunger has hit urban areas hard, with up to 2,2 million people in our towns and cities regarded as food insecure.

Meanwhile, it is reported that one in three children in Zimbabwe suffers from malnutrition.

It has actually become a luxury for some families to have more than one meal a day.

Do these horrifying statistics point to an economy that is “doing very well”?

Please, Ncube, stop insulting and spitting upon the suffering people of Zimbabwe, whose unimaginable poverty has been authored by the government you serve.

Indeed, no one can deny the encouraging figures coming out of his office.

Our gross domestic product (GDP) stood at US$20,68 billion in 2022, with a growth rate of 3,4%.

This year, the International Monetary Fund projects economic growth of 4,8%. In the mining sector, the country is poised to attain the US$12 billion target.

Indeed, the country boasts the largest reserves of lithium in Africa, the second platinum deposits in the world, is the seventh largest producer of diamonds and has the second largest gold reserves per square kilometre.

Is this what Ncube regards as an economy “doing very well”?

However, as long as the ordinary citizen is still languishing in such deplorable poverty, all these numbers count to nothing.

What use is it to a starving child, who has not had a decent meal in days, that Zimbabwe is the seventh largest producer of diamonds?

How is having a GDP of US$20,68 billion benefiting ordinary citizens when we are dying in our homes because public healthcare institutions lack basic essential medication such as painkillers, functional cancer machines and adequate ambulances?

What is the point of having the world’s largest gold reserves per square kilometre when this is only benefiting the ruling elite, who are busy smuggling this precious mineral, as well as others, for their self-enrichment?

As a matter of fact, is it not a great tragedy that communities residing in areas with all this mineral wealth are actually some of the poorest people in the country?

Each year, Zimbabwe is prejudiced of over US$3 billion through mineral smuggling, money laundering, corrupt activities and other illicit financial transactions.

As long as ordinary Zimbabweans are not enjoying the fruits of these impressive figures, then there is nothing “very well” about our economy.

In my point of view, the country is still in the ICU and potentially on its death bed.

As long as his version of “the economy doing very well” is confined to statistics that are meaningless to the general population, then all this talk is hogwash.

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