Zimbabwe's brilliant bond note satire and other stories

2016-10-27 11:21


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Harare - $540 for five pints of blood? In a country where you can't get cash out of your bank?

Zimbabweans have been outraged after an eye-watering bill was leaked for a patient allegedly needing a spine operation.

Cash-strapped Zimbabwe is definitely not a country to fall sick in. Unless of course, you are the president and you have access to a discreet clinic in Singapore.

Here are five stories you might have missed from the last few days in Zimbabwe.

Cash, as always, is King. 

But Bruce Jenner also gets a shout-out.  

That huge medical bill 

OK, so it wasn't clear at first that this was definitely a bill in US dollars. According to a photo of the document dated October 20 and leaked on Facebook, the privately-run Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo was demanding an upfront payment of around $32 000 from a patient needing a spine op.

The blood charge is certainly in US: a pint of (donated) blood in Zimbabwe will cost you $100-plus. Those lucky enough to have private medical aid (and it's a precious few in Zimbabwe) will know that it's a nightmare trying to get approval for treatment. CIMAS, one of the major medical insurers in Zimbabwe, prefers to send clients to India for surgery.

Outspoken advocate Fadzayi Mahere wrote on Facebook: "When are we going to admit that there is no more healthcare in this country?" 

Debts in paradise 

Zimbabwe's consulate in Hong Kong has been taken to court over a debt of around $80 000, the Hong Kong Free Press says. Apparently no rent's been paid since March.

It's not a huge surprise: Zimbabwe embassies across the world have been struggling to pay salaries and rent and school fees for ages now. But Hong Kong holds a special place in Mugabe's heart.

Years ago he and Grace were reported to have bought a luxury apartment there, his daughter Bona went to university there and it's also there that the First Lady had a less-than-edifying clash with a photographer.

Things are looking pretty bad if they can't keep the Hong Kong consulate going.

'I warned the central bank,' says expert  

Economics professor Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University became something of an authority on bearer-cheque induced hyperinflation back in Zimbabwe's last economic crisis up to the end of 2008.

According to Hanke's calculation, Zimbabwe's inflation rate in mid-November of that year was 79.6 billion% - and it took 24.7 hours for prices to double.

Hanke has been speaking again (or at least tweeting) on Zimbabwe this week.

It's not the kind of tweet RBZ chief John Mangudya - who BTW has denied reports Germany's Giesecke & Devrient is refusing to print bondnotes - will want to read out at his business breakfast.

Says Hanke: "I warned Kupukile Mlambo of RBZ in May that Zimbabwe bond notes would create chaos. The RBZ is learning the meaning of chaos.

Bond notes 'better than any Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner sex change' 

Zimbabweans are exceptionally good at creative spoofing and bond notes are a brilliant target.

In a recent "news clip" on satire online channel Magamba TV, a helmeted worker is seen carefully un-spooling a toilet roll to make - you got it - bond notes.

A furiously-keen correspondent promises the new notes will be "a resilient non-currency capable of transforming our country's economy far better than any Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner sex change."

We want the ZRP police band, says opposition 

Zimbabweans have been circulating a letter allegedly written by an MDC youth assembly chairperson in Chitungwiza requesting that the police band play at a demonstration being organised early next month to call for an end to... police brutality.

Zimbabwe police band (and the ZRP choir) are very talented. It's a shame that the decent and the artistically-able members of the force are overshadowed by its reputation for partisan policing (and road-block extortion).

Writes the MDC's Chitungwiza North Youth Assembly Chairperson: "I strongly believe the police band is for everybody and not for a singular political party."

If this letter is genuine, it's pretty cool. 

No word yet on the police response though.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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