Divine Intervention as a Development Strategy

First we had the mayor of Jackson, MS urging his constituents to pray that the numerous potholes in the city get fixed.

yarber-tweet-about-potholes

and now we have the President of Zambia calling for a national holiday for people to pray for the economy and the falling currency.  Ha–like the government doesn’t have anything to with either of these phenomena!

Bloomberg reports the following about the Zambian economy:

a.  The currency, the kwacha, has lost 45% of its value against the dollar in the past year.

b.  “Zambians have been forced to endure power cuts of as long as 14 hours a day in Lusaka as drought caused water levels to drop at Lake Kariba hydropower plants, which supply the nation with almost half of its electricity. Dry weather has also caused a 22 percent slump in production this year of corn, the staple food, boosting inflation.”

c. “Copper prices have dropped more than 20% in the past year, prompting companies such as Glencore Plc to consider shutting mines and fire thousands of workers. Zambia is Africa’s second-largest producer of the metal, which accounts for 70 percent of export income.”

d. “Since taking office in January following the death of his predecessor Michael Sata, Zambia has been beset by policy uncertainty and a weakening in spending controls that’s led to ballooning debt. The government has steadily raised its target for the budget deficit this year from 4.6 percent of gross domestic product to 6.9 percent.”

So what should a proactive and responsible government do when the economy is heading south?  Declare a holiday, urge people to pray for recovery, and make sure that no one works that day.  Hmm, economics is clearly not the president’s strong suit.  Here are some details:

Zambian President Edgar Lungu wants his people to pray for on a national day of devotion and fasting on Sunday to reverse a decline in the world’s worst currency and fix a litany of problems from plunging copper prices to electricity shortages.
All bars, nightclubs and entertainment venues have been instructed by the government to shut on the day, while the Football Association of Zambia has canceled domestic games.”

Just when you thought you had hit rock bottom with icon-based development…

There I Fixed It*

Today’s line-up of people who really don’t get it:

1.Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber of Mississippi is “encouraging citizens to pray for the city’s infrastructure, proclaiming ‘Yes….I believe we can pray potholes away.'” And sadly, this is not from The Onion!  I don’t see any problems with this strategy; it’s practically flawless.

2. Venezuelan President Maduro, who has managed to absolutely gut the economy in a few short years, is now pointing to Colombians as the real scourge.  Sounding a lot like a certain buffoon in the US, he stated:

“Who comes from Colombia to Venezuela? These are people who come with no education, without a penny in their pocket, it’s the poor who come fleeing … Venezuela has become a magnet, a guarantee for social rights for the Colombian people. I have to say it, and I ask for your understanding … I don’t offend Colombia by telling the truth, that Venezuela is hurting, because of all the poverty and the misery coming from Colombia … but aside from that, we get drug trafficking, mafias, and here we are, making sure Venezuela is a territory free of drugs, we are the victims, let’s open our eyes. And now, we are the victims of paramilitaries brought by the right, and send by Colombia’s far right.” 

Yeah, that’s right, it’s the poverty and misery from Colombia that’s dragging down the Venezuelan economy.   And deporting 800 Colombians from the border region will almost certainly solve the economic woes.

3. And now for the (unintentional) master of irony, we have first-class economy wrecker Bobby Mugabe, who yesterday proclaimed that there was “no suffering” in Zimbabwe. It’s hard to believe he could say that with a straight face.  He went on to hilariously ask “But what is it that the people are suffering from? Didn’t we give them land?”  That’s right Bobby.  Land redistribution to your cronies should have fixed everything, right?  What are these damned ingrates still complaining about?

*In honor of the very funny “There I Fixed It” Blog