Top Zimbabwe banker demonstrates his grip on reality
It's hearty congratulations today to the Governor of the Zimbabwe Central Bank, Gideon Gono. With one stroke, he has tackled our hyper-inflation problem. He has lopped ten zeros off the end of all our currency notes.
Thus, thanks to Gono's incisiveness, a ten billion Zimbabwean dollar note is now suddenly worth...one Zimbabwean dollar. It will, of course, buy you only what ten billion Zimbabwean dollars would buy you yesterday - or to be more accurate, it will buy you less.
Because, as someone here said, lopping zeros off the currency is like applying lipstick to a frog. It might change its appearance. But the frog is still a frog. Hyper-inflation is still with us, and the zeros will soon be racking up again on our new dollar notes, and buying us ever less in the stores that have nothing to sell.
Those in possession of old-style notes with countless zeros on them need not worry. These will not cease to be legal tender until December 31. Until them you can still use them to buy all those essential items our shops haven't seen for months.
Gono knows the pointlessness of fiddling with figures like this, so why did he do it? The answer is - modern technology. Apparently our major bankers and shop owners have told him their computer software could no longer cope with such elongated totals.
When the news came through, some thought it was a sign of a break-through in the talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC in Pretoria. Sadly, instead of a break-through, the talks produced a break-down, mainly due to Mugabe's ludicrous offer to Morgan Tsvangirai of the post of third vice-president.
Quite what the duties of the third vice-president involve no-one is clear. Making the coffee? Surely not. Telling the fourth vice-president to make the coffee? Possibly. What is clear is, Tsvangirai turned the offer down flat.
But, perhaps surprisingly, the talks aren't finished. South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, the mediator between the two sides, says they will reconvene on Sunday.
Will they soon produce a fair and just solution to our country's problems. I'm willing to bet five Zimbabwean dollars they won't. New dollars or old ones.