Britons are not at all amused with the dramatic fall of their currency, the Pound, against the US dollar and Euro – the worst since 1971.
Just by how much did the British Pound fall?
Well, on Friday – after the new Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng (who only assumed office on 6 September 2022, when Liz Truss took over from Boris Johnson as Prime Minister) abandoned an expected tax increase, but instead announced a massive 50 percent tax cut – the country’s currency fell by 3.5 percent.
This morning, the British Pound could be bought at US$1.03, but had since gained a bit of ground to US$1.06 later in the day.
Not to be unexpected, most British citizens are livid and unimpressed with the new administration – since, in the midst of an already constricted economy (characterized by rising inflation, fuel costs, and salaries being eroded as a result), a weaker currency will not help matters at all.
However, what caught my attention were not the economic challenges facing the UK – but rather, how the people of that country react to such situations that threaten their livelihoods and standards of living.
For some of us in Zimbabwe – where our local currency can fall by over a 100 percent overnight, and we simply go about our business the next day, as if nothing of significance had ever occurred – this should be a loud wake up call.
Do we, the ordinary citizens, ever question ourselves why we appear to always get the short end of the stick in Zimbabwe – our lives and livelihoods always hanging by a thread, with each day worst than the last?
Let us forget all the political rhetoric for a moment.
Our economic challenges in Zimbabwe are as real as the sun rising in the east – and, we can never ignore our daily suffering merely because this is justified as having been caused by sanctions, sabotage, or whatever other reason.
Are we not to be blamed for not taking our own lives seriously enough – as we seem to disregard the mayhem in our country, without ever raising any ire for the ruin those in power are causing us?
Surely, if the Brits can raise such a storm and furore over their currency losing two or three pence (or, the equivalent of cents) – such that most major news channels are carrying this story – why do we, in Zimbabwe, somehow believe we are better off, and do not need to give much thought to our own currency free-falling at an alarming rate (presently sitting at ZW$800 to US$1)?
Do we ever ask ourselves why such countries as the UK, US, France, Italy, Germany, and many others are as economically successful as they are?
Again, let us not make excuses by hiding behind some political rhetoric of centuries ago slavery and colonialism – but, bravely confront the glaring realities facing us today.
Surely, how can a nation ever fall into the same dark eerie abyss as Zimbabwe finds itself – when its citizens do not brooke any nonsense from their leaders?
The British are all too aware of all that stuff on the destructive wake left behind by two years of the disastrous COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing Russian barbaric attack on its neighbor Ukraine (which has led to massive global grain shortages, and an increase in energy costs in Europe…most of whom are largely reliant on Russia).
Yet, this has never led the British into a lull – sitting back and deriving a false sense of comfort from making excuses for their economic problems – no matter how legitimate they may be.
When their currency loses even two pence, they demand answers – and, will make noise until the matter is rectified.
In Zimbabwe, tomorrow we can wake up to the news that the local currency is now at a thousand to the greenback – and, besides the usual inconsequential ramblings and grumblings, we nonetheless, act as if nothing was amiss.
Why, then, should we be particularly shocked when our livelihoods continue to worsen an a daily basis – when we do not hold those in authority to account, electing to pretend as if we were in a normal country?
Nothing is normal in Zimbabwe – and, we, the citizens, should shoulder most of that blame.
Why do we seem to believe that our leaders will automatically do what is right – in the absence of our supervision and pressure?
No matter how democratic or ‘good’ a government may be perceived – commendable results that are favorable to the citizenry are only achieved through holding those in office answerable to the people.
Without that, we should never expect much in terms of positive results – as it is human nature to slacken when we are not being monitored, kept on our toes, and held to account.
That is why at our own workplaces, there are those whose job it is to keep a close eye on our progress – otherwise, most of us would not mind spending the entire day sleeping, and get paid for it at the end of the month.
I remember in my early working years, we would sit in front of our PCs (personal computers), pretending to be busy at work – yet, playing Solitaire or Minesweeper – only to ‘maximize’ the ‘window’ with the assignment at hand, at the sight of the boss!
In a country, the citizens are the bosses of those we elect into office.
We are the ones who give them their jobs – and so, we are their employers.
Furthermore, we pay their salaries through our taxes.
As such,, when I repeat that, ‘the president is not my boss,, but I’m his boss’ – it is not being impudent or disrespectful, but is a statement of fact.
Any elected official is answerable to those who elected him or her.
It is as simple as that.
That is why the people of Britain do not tolerate any nonsense by their leaders – and, can even recall them from office, at the drop of the hat – as happened to Johnson, after his violations of COVID-19 regulations, with parties being held at 10 Downing Street.
They similarly, do not allow themselves to be divided along political lines, or be used by politicians – to the point of witnessing, as so frequently occurs in Zimbabwe, those willing to shield and even praise the architects of their misery and suffering.
Even some governing Conservative Party backbenchers have already signaled their intention to rebel, should the British Pound fall below the US Dollar.
That is the real reason the UK, and others like her, are economically prosperous, and their people living pretty well.
If we want such a life, it is so easy for us to have it – with no need at all boarding a flight to London.
All we simply need to do is to do what the British, Americans, Germans, French, Italians do – they hold their leaders accountable, in ensuring that they fulfill their mandate without excuses.
If we do not do that, we will forever be crying – and, always be attributing the West’s phenomenal advancements and development to slavery and colonialism of centuries and decades ago.
Even someone who won a million dollars five years ago in a lottery, could be dead broke and wallowing in poverty today – if he did not use the money responsibly!
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: [email protected]