Harare – If Zimbabwe’s little-liked bond notes aren’t being printed in Germany or South Africa, where are they being printed? Zimbabwe, of course, say opposition officials.
Until recently, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe claimed German firm Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) would print the notes, which are apparently to be put into circulation at the end of this month.
He’s not saying that now.
Zimbabwe’s privately-owned Newsday on Monday quotes central bank chief John Mangudya as refusing to say where the notes will be turned out, claiming only: “They are not being printed in Germany or South Africa.”
Many fear the notes will fuel hyperinflation and return Zimbabwe to the economic crisis that peaked in 2008 (which is when G&D finally stopped delivering paper for bearer cheques, Zimbabwe’s last ill-fated currency).
Eddie Cross, the Movement for Democratic Change’s shadow local government minister claims in a new blog post that the German government forbade G&D (which has the rather poignant ‘creating confidence’ motto) from working with President Robert Mugabe’s government. “So we went ahead and printed the new currency in Zimbabwe – in the Reserve Bank which has a superb state of the art printing facility in Harare,” Cross says. The “we” refers to Mugabe and the central bank.
Cross repeats his claim that the notes are already printed. The problem is, he says, “how to issue [them] without causing mayhem”.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu has been saying something very similar on Twitter this week. Quoting what he calls “authentic sources” he says the notes are being warehoused “somewhere in Msasa”, Harare’s industrial area. Gutu says the notes have been printed at the government’s Fidelity Printers.
Though they’re far from hope-inducing, bond notes are still proving fertile inspiration for jokes. The privately-owned Standard reported this week that the prefix “bond” is being added to anything temporary. “Bond teachers” are temporary teachers, while “bond meat” is soya mince, a pale copy of the real thing.
What hasn’t helped build confidence in the new notes is the authorities’ attempts to muddy the waters. Mangudya’s claim that they’re backed by a 200 million US Afreximbank facility isn’t backed by the institution itself.
The fact that Afreximbank was donated a 1.2 hectare plot to build a regional headquarters on in Harare in April may or may not be significant.