Not just the toothpaste, but out of all else. At the supermarket I asked a fellow shopper if she was a doctor. No, but why are you asking? Prices! I am about to have a heart attack.
The government says Zimbabwe’s annual inflation is running at 227 percent today, down from 269 percent last year. It’s still officially the highest in the world followed by Lebanon (162%), Venezuela (156%), Syria (139 %) and, in Africa, Sudan (103%).
We don’t have a war on, unless you take into account political violence that’s rising in tempo as we head for elections in July-August.
Back in the supermarket, it is clear someone is lying to us. Ordinary groceries have gone up by more than 700 percent. (Tinned goods, meat, cheese, bread, that sort of thing.) The Cost of Living Index for families to put food on the table and fill lunch boxes for schoolgoing kids has gone through the roof, way out of reach.
No surprise, then, that crime has gone through the roof too. Unemployment is at record levels. Parents are defaulting on school fees and kids are being thrown out = another lost generation.
The culprits are corruption and mismanagement and, we are told, remaining colonial era imbalances, Ukraine, and the dastardly neo-imperialist and capitalist agendas of Western countries. Corruption, though, is hardly a new era egalitarian ideal.
That 500K Venezualan Bolivar note is worth less than 50 American cents, that Zimbabwe dollar up there is worthless in a country that one once had a head-spinning 100 trillion $ bank note; the prevalent black market rate on the street is ZD +/- 1,000 to a single US dollar. So that Zeedollar, if it was still in circulation, would be worth less than one thousandth of a USD.
I didn’t go into all this at the supermarket, nor did I get a kiss of life.