Roll up, roll up for a zig-zag

Some of us might remember roll-ups in the good old bad old days. Bill Clinton said he tried a hand-rolled spliff at college but didn’t inhale.

The rolling papers were Rizla and Zig-Zag.

Which brings us to the zig zag of our new local banknote the Zig, or Zimbabwe Gold. Its creators are high on it, trying to justify the benefits of the sixth new currency in as many years.

Apparently we cannot abandon the sovereignty of having our own local money to reflect our nationhood and identity in the befuddled economy.

We are told it will be an internationally negotiable currency backed by gold reserves held in secure stocks much like other respected world monies.

It goes without saying that gold and diamond wealth has been subverted for years, illegally stolen in illicit trade with the gnomes of China, Dubai and any others willing to play a high stakes game.

Official stats show that Zimbabwe produced an average of 20 tons of gold every year since 1990 and a record 37 tons last year alone.

The central bank now says it has 2.5, yes two and a half, tons of gold in its vaults and a billion US dollars worth safely stored elsewhere to back the Zig.

Where is the rest?  Gold has always been a principal export but the benefits are not clear to see other than as lining the pockets of the Mercedes elite and the ‘gold mafia’ at home,  as TV investigations by Al Jazeera called them.

The Zig is our first fully gold-backed money, they say, so we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out over coming months. The public at large has little confidence it will work.

In context, this comes when severe drought has slashed food harvests after political mis-steps disrupted confidence in our agricultural sector.

The government admits that half the population is ‘food insecure’ at present but no-one will be allowed to die of hunger as the drought intensifies. That sounds like a promise it will be hard to keep. And who will pay for food imports? The gold mafia?

As time rolls on, I’ll stick to my pursuit of wondrous Zigs and Zig-Zags.

The World Today

***One of my icons of all time, Princess Elizabeth of Toro, has just turned 88.

When she declined Idi Amin’s demands for a bonk he tried to discredit her, claiming she had sex with a French diplomat in a toilet at Orly airport. She was his foreign minister at the time. 

She had graduated as a barrister (advocate) at Cambridge University and appeared as a model on the front covers of Vogue,  Harper’s Bazaar – their first black woman – and Life. More than one assassination attempt forced her into years of exile, finally returning home to continue in diplomatic roles and social work characterised by her lifelong dignity and charm.

I first encountered her when she successfully sued the British press over Amin’s Orly toilet story.

(Note the ashtray at bottom right of the photo. Smoking was allowed in the UN General Assembly back then.)

***  Royal documents newly declassified after 50 years show that the late Queen of England struck Idi Amin off her Christmas card list in 1974.

It was against protocol towards Commonwealth heads of state and it angered Amin. He sent a telex (remember them?) to the Royal household: “Dear Liz, if you want to know a real man come to Kampala.”

The self-professed “King of Scotland” had completed his colonial-era army training in Stirlingshire and learnt how to play the bagpipes. Visitors to the deposed dictator’s apartment in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia said he had a collection of bagpipe music, watched videos of the Edinburgh tattoo and had a portrait of King George VI, the Queen’s father wearing a kilt, on his wall. Amin died there aged 74 in 2003.

1 Response

  1. allen pizzey says:

    Nice bit of zigging, you old zagger…and thanks for the Idi memory..
    My only encounter with the madman of Lake Vic was when he showed up in Kinshasa during the invasion of Shaba (1977 I think) ) to offer his fellow klepto Boots Mpbutu the use of “Suicide Sarah and the Mechanised Battalion”” to help out. Offer declined. Alas.

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