Use of US dollar divides Tongogara RDC

BY Brenna Matendere

There were fireworks at the Tongogara Rural District Council’s (RDC) meeting this week when councillors and management clashed over the proposed use of United States dollars in pricing residential stands owned by the local authority.

The full council meeting held on Tuesday could not find common ground amid indications by council chief executive Brian Rufasha that management was proposing to sell the stands at Raylands Park in US dollars.

Some people have already purchased residential stands in the area and are paying in instalments.

The initial price was pegged at $7 000 during the time when the value between the surrogate bond notes currency and the US dollars was pegged at 1:1.

Accordingly, the RDC’s management sought to seek the approval of the councillors in making a resolution to sell the stands for US$7 000, arguing that the value
of the RTGS dollar was fast depreciating.

However, the predominantly Zanu PF local authority was sharply divided over the matter. The issue was raised soon after presentation of the finance committee
recommendations to have the sale of the stands suspended until such a time when the economy has improved. But a suggestion was raised to sell the stands in US dollars instead of suspending the transactions altogether. Ads

Councillor Wilbert Rambanapasi argued that the council could not be seen as approving dollarisation mechanisms when government had not approved the move.

“It is not government’s policy to have prices pegged in US dollars. We have our own official currency and it will be wrong to sell our stands in US dollars,” he argued.

Earlier on, the councillor had highlighted that the meeting had not been properly convened as the RDC fathers had only been served with agenda papers three
days before, instead of the seven days as provided at law.

Council chairperson Tamiswa Njovana told the meeting that he was not an interested party in the sale of the stands, but only wanted councillors to proffer
their decision with regards to whether or not to adopt the US dollar.

After a deadlock on the matter, Njovana put the issue to vote. Still, there was a stalemate forcing debate on the matter to be postponed to another date.

“We have received 24 ballots, indicating that 24 councillors have voted, but in here we are 23. As a result, we postpone the matter to another time for a
decision to be made,” he said.

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