So we got a very expensive loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB), without even having the courtesy of bouncing it with Parliament, to cushion our kwacha?
Goodall Gondwe, our purse keeper, was right on the ball when he said we used ‘tricks’ to arrest our wayward kwacha from tumbling south and created a false impression that the kwacha was on the mend.
But can an economy survive on these kindergarten ‘tricks’? The Big Kahuna tried it by using his trusty boys – the Mwanamvekhas of this world – to ‘trick’ us into borrowing heavily from commercial banks to create a mirage that the ‘zero-deficit’ budget was working. Will the ‘zero-aid’ budget work by using the same ‘tricks’, albeit this time around Peter, Bingu’s younger brother and protégé, borrowing internationally and expensively?
A dear friend dropped this witty analogy of the Malawi of today that, I think, captures truthfully what we truly are. Enjoy:
“Times are tough; everybody is in debt, everyone is living on credit. A tourist, let us call him Mr. Jones, drives through town, stops at a motel and lays K10,000 on the desk, saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs.
“As soon as the tourist goes upstairs, the motel owner grabs the money and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the K10,000 and runs down the street to settle his debt at the piggery he got his week’s supply from.
“The piggery owner takes the K10,000 and heads off to settle his bill with his feed supplier who quickly runs to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has been offering her “services” on credit.
“And the hooker rushes to the motel and pays off her room bill.
“Meanwhile, the tourist, Mr. Jones, comes back down the stairs stating that the rooms are not to his taste. He claims back his K10,000 and leaves.
“No one, in this cycle, has produced anything and no one has earned anything! But the whole town now thinks that they are somehow out of debt!”
That, sadly, is how Malawi has been reduced to now…borrowing from Peter to pay Paul and good ol’ Goodall tantalises us that we have ‘tricked’ the economy back into working again?
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