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Zimdollar: Zanu PF out of touch with reality

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The resolution passed at the just-ended Zanu PF conference to push for the immediate return of the Zimbabwe dollar only goes to show how out of touch the party has become.

This is the same party that at independence in 1980 inherited a currency that was more powerful than the British pound.

At the time it was scrapped in 2009 by the inclusive government, the Zimdollar had become a laughing stock the world over as it was no longer worth the paper it was printed on.

Zanu PF’s penchant to defy conventional economics by printing money at will saw Zimbabwe breaking world inflation records for fun.

Historians put the 2009 inflation crisis as the second worst inflation spike in history, behind the Hungarian crisis in 1946, which saw prices doubling every 15,6 hours.

In Zimbabwe, the last figures before the local currency was scrapped showed that with annual inflation rate at over 500 quintillion percent, prices were doubling every 1,3 days.

For almost a decade, the country experienced chronic foreign currency shortages, a situation that quickened the collapse of the economy that critics have blamed on Zanu PF’s mismanagement.
Thousands of Zimbabweans — especially the elderly and pensioners — lost their life time savings during the madness.

The only people who benefited from the chaos caused by the misuse of the local currency by those in power were the Zanu PF bigwigs.

They manipulated the dual foreign currency exchange system that flourished under Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono’s watch to become super-rich over night.

The introduction of multiple currencies has ushered in a modicum of normalcy in the local economy, but more still needs to be done before we can even start talking about the re-introduction of the Zimdollar.

Zimbabwe still does not have an economy to talk about and the banking system is yet to find its feet in the wake of the inflation-induced challenges.

The only people yearning for the return of the local currency are the same individuals who presided over the collapse of the Zimdollar through their role in the parallel foreign currency trade also known as the black market.

They are the same people who encouraged the RBZ’s quasi-fiscal activities that killed a once-vibrant economy.

If Zanu PF was serious about addressing the plight of long-suffering Zimbabweans, it should have used the five-day conference to restragise on how to restore investor confidence battered by its ill-advised indigenisation programme.

Once the economy is restored to at least the 1999 levels, when the wheels started coming off for the Zimbabwean dollar, we can start talking about re-introduction of the local currency.

There are more pressing issues to talk about right now rather than dwelling on a currency that would bring more misery for Zimbabweans.

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