EDITORIAL COMMENT: New law should go beyond forex dealers

The new law which comes into effect today targeting illegal currency dealers and holders of ill-gotten wealth is more than welcome, perhaps long overdue.

We expect that jailing convicted currency illegal dealers for 10 years, as the law proposes, should be deterrent enough to curb the scourge.

There is also punishment awaiting those with unexplained movement of money in the financial system to restore order in the banking sector. While these measures should go a long way in dealing with trouble causers in the economy, we hope that Government will go further to locate all the economic saboteurs and bring them to book.

There are too many people — ranging from politicians to businesspeople and to ordinary citizens — sabotaging efforts to address economic problems affecting the country.

So long as such people remain on the loose, current efforts to foster economic stability will be long and painful. We are saying with the illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries in the back of our mind.

The sanctions have been a major stumbling block to economic progress in the country since the early 2000s when they were imposed.

What makes them such a sad story is that they were called for by fellow Zimbabweans, who thought they could help them get into power. The people who invited these sanctions have not apologised for this act of treachery against their own people. And they have not been made to account.

Just before the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections, MDC-Alliance partners Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti and Dewa Mavhinga once again travelled to the United States to ensure the sanctions were maintained.

The economic challenges affecting the country manifesting in cash shortages and illegal currency dealing are a result of those illegal sanctions called for almost 20 years ago.

If those who illegally deal in foreign currency have to go to jail for 10 years for sabotaging the economy, we expect harsher punishment for those who called for sanctions and insist that they must stay. This is a crime even in more advanced economies which have better resources to cope with adversity.

We expect Government coming up with a tough law to deal with Zimbabweans who invite economic sanctions on the country. They are worse devils than desperate people selling cash on the streets, whose crime can be traced back to the illegal sanctions.

MDC-Alliance officials have not only tried to justify and defend economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, they are accused of drafting the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera)that was passed by the United States Congress in 2001.

By jailing illegal foreign currency dealers, the Government is showing it is serious about fighting economic saboteurs. But it is addressing the symptoms of our economic ills.

Government started with the amendment of the Exchange Control and Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Acts, and we are looking forward to moving to the next level — that of dealing with those who call for sanctions.

Those who have been calling for sanctions are not saints, they are economic saboteurs.

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