BY BLESSED MHLANGA/SILAS NKALA/FARAI MATIASHE
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s plans to abolish the multi-currency system in favour of a new local currency could spectacularly fail, resulting in more catastrophe for troubled Zimbabwe if fundamentals such as political legitimacy and productivity are not addressed, opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has warned.
Responding to Mnangagwa’s recent announcement that government will ditch the multi-currency regime and introduce a new local currency before year-end, Chamisa yesterday said this would not work.
This came as MDC youths yesterday gave Mnangagwa until end of this month to resolve the country’s worsening socio-economic crisis or risk crippling mass protests.
“The problem that Zimbabwe faces is not currency, it’s politics. Until we fix our politics, deal with the legitimacy issues and address the fundamentals of the economy, introducing a new currency will not work, it’s about the fundamentals,” Chamisa said.
He said the spectacular fall of the RTGS dollar soon after its introduction by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube should have awakened government to the reality of introducing a new currency without the requisite market confidence.
“Even if they were to allow trade directly in gold as currency, with the current government which is illegitimate and does not inspire national and international confidence, the gold will still lose value,” he said.
Chamisa said because of poor policies, alleged corruption and looting by top government officials, investment and capital had fled the country. This resulted in production suffering and creating serious problems for the economy.
“They should not lie about sanctions. When we were in the inclusive government, the same measures were in place, but we delivered. Business needs to have confidence in the government and policy direction. Capital will not come when you have corrupt elements holding influential positions,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by labour consultant Davies Ndumiso Sibanda and Innocent Ndibali, leader of the opposition Zimbabwe Economic Freedom Fighters, who both said the economy was not ripe for a new currency.
Chamisa’s party has snubbed Mnangagwa’s all-parties political dialogue to end the economic crisis demanding that the Zanu PF leader recuse himself from leading the process, and has threatened to roll out mass protests to force government to urgently restore sanity in the economy.
Addressing journalists at the party headquarters, MDC youth leader Obey Sithole said: “This assembly has agreed on a confrontational approach in dealing with this corrupt and illegitimate military regime. The answers to the national question lie in this generation which has a future to safeguard. As the MDC youth assembly, we are going to set the pace in making sure that we save this nation from extinction.
“Our message to Mr Mnangagwa is very clear. We are not going to respect bayonets and bullets, but the voices of the down-trodden and long-suffering masses. We are definitely going to organise mass action and occupy the streets since the streets have become more comfortable than our empty homes. We hear the State has beefed up its armoury to muzzle our voices, but we are not intimidated for we know they cannot shoot the entire nation. As such, we are declaring June our month of radicalisation.”
But Mnangagwa said a new local currency would restore economic sanity and stabilise prices of goods and services.
Secretary for Information, Ndavaningi Mangwana last night said government respected the constitutional right of citizens or political entities to demonstrate or protest peacefully.
“That’s not an issue at all,” he said. “It only becomes an issue if people decide to infringe the constitutional right of others not to participate by forcing them to do so or if people choose to employ violence in their processions. Then the State has no option, but to intervene to restore order and protect life, limb and property.”
Regarding the economy, Mangwana said dealing with the economic structural issues will not bear fruit in a month.
“Our Transitional Stabilisation Programme, which has been vaunted by all honest people, will only be complete at the end of 2020. No amount of protests or demonstrations will change the timelines for such a clear and progressive roadmap towards the attainment of vision 2030. Let’s all put our shoulders to the wheel and work for our country,” Mangwana said.