By: Christopher Mahove
Harare – The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday called on Zimbabwe’s security sector workers to reject salaries in the form of bond notes.
Bond notes are being introduced by the central bank amid a cash crunch of US dollars.
With clients unable to make withdrawals from banks, which simply do not have enough dollars to meet withdrawals, the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank (RBZ) announced it will issue bond notes that will mimic the dollar in value.
Speaking at a round table discussion at the media centre in Harare, PDP Spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, said the introduction of the bond notes had nothing to do with serving the interests of the people.
He warned the RBZ move would only “serve extortionist money lenders” connected to top political figures. If the army, police and prison services – who are paid earlier than any other sectors in the country – accept the bond notes, Mafume said the whole country would be forced to accept them.
He said the government could then use soldiers and police officers “to beat up people into submission” so that they accept the “worthless pieces of paper”.
Mafume said: “So I am sincerely calling on the security sector that in the name of national interest, they must insist on their constitutional rights not to receive worthless paper as pay for the service that they do the nation, because that is going to be their first point of call”.
Mafume said the country “had been down that road before” and now needed the intervention of the legislature, the judiciary and every right thinking Zimbabweans to stop RBZ Governor John Mangudya from bringing back the demonetised Zimbabwe dollar.
Mafume also lambasted the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe for supporting Mangudya’s “warped policies”, saying it was surprising that while they gave the introduction of bond notes the green light, they were quick to suspend the use of international VISA cards.
“If the banks have confidence in this system, why have they stopped international finance?” he asked.
Mafume said the so called priority list that the RBZ governor introduced was created as a vehicle for those in authority to siphon US dollars from ordinary citizens who would end up stuck with worthless bond notes.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said in a statement on Wednesday the introduction of the bond notes was not a solution to the cash crisis. The ZCTU said the cash crunch was a symptom of a more complex and bigger problem.
“The bond notes will not work as Zimbabweans have lost confidence in the government’s ability to revive the economy,” said ZCTU Secretary General Japhet Moyo.
He said the government should address the fundamental problem of seriously under performing industries. He said Zimbabwe,once a major producer, had been reduced to “a supermarket economy” dependent on imports.
“Unfortunately, they have skewed priorities and think printing pseudo dollars is the solution,” said Moyo.
“In fact, the introduction of the bond notes will worsen the plight of workers as more and more companies will sink due to failure to access real money to rejuvenate their operations.”
Moyo said the government, led by Robert Mugabe, 92, should be frank and declare it was bringing back the Zimbabwe Dollar. He said the government should admit it had failed to revive the “comatose economy”.
The RBZ blames the cash shortage that has led to long queues outside banks on illicit remittance of US dollars from Zimbabwe to other countries. RBZ Governor Mangudya claims that at least $50 million was “externalised” via wire transfers since January 2016. Cash transported out of Zimbabwe physically is still to be quantified.
AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY