IN his address at a Zanu PF campaign rally in Marondera on Sunday, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga threatened to lock up and impose stiff jail terms on money changers.
The Vice-President glossed over several important points in his shocking threats against a generation whose future has been affected by corruption, misrule and kleptocracy by the ruling regime and its cronies.
It is important to say that the age group that is eking out a living through changing money is made up of school-levers, those that have gone through university and college but have been denied employment opportunities by economic decay, corruption and rampant nepotism.
Under normal circumstances, everyone leaving university or college aspires to find a job and, if opportunities permit, start their own business.
But following the rot that has transcended beyond 20 years, opportunities have dried up for many.
But for children and relatives of the elite, jobs are readily available in many of the country’s decaying State firms and in government itself.
The government is perpetuating serious inequality through this selective provision of opportunities, which has left hundreds of thousands of youths with no option but to leave the country — that is if they get the passports — or engage in gold panning or money changing.
All the three options are dangerous for these young people because they involve hide-and-seek games with Zimbabwe’s brutal law enforcement agencies.
The point is, threatening these people or viewing them as enemies of the State without providing concrete solutions to their problems is no solution.
By doing so, Chiwenga is making a fatal error.
He is telling these people to abandon the streets and go out to steal or rob because without their present source of income, they surely have nothing else to do.
We challenge Chiwenga and many of his ilk to sit down, study economic trends to understand why youths have had to risk their lives and health engaging in such dangerous excursions.
We are convinced that after doing so, Chiwenga will realise how the economic crisis has derailed progress, transferred opportunities from peasants to the elite and triggered serious manipulation of the poor by the affluent classes of this country.
Speaking of those with mega bucks, they are the same group that owns the foreign currency that is circulating on the streets.
When those trading in it are arrested, the rich won’t be affected — they just move to the next group of illegal money changers and trade continues.
The ball is in your court Mr Vice-President.