By Byron Mutingwende
Joseph Makamba Busha, the President of FreeZim Congress, has approached the High Court to force government to set aside Statutory Instrument (SI) 33 of 2019.
On the 20th of February 2019, John Panonetsa Mangudya, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced a Monetary Policy Statement which brought to the fore a number of measures.
According to the Statutory Instrument, dollar balances held in local foreign currency (FCA) bank accounts and mobile payment platforms, as well as bond notes and coins would no longer be regarded as equal in value to United States dollars.
The SI 33 of 2019 goes on to state that local dollar electronic balances and bond notes and coins would become “RTGS dollars”, part of Zimbabwe’s multi-currency system and trading at an exchange rate fixed by market forces. An inter-bank market would be established for trading RTGS dollars with foreign currencies on a willing-seller willing-buyer basis. In addition, the instrument states that RTGS dollars “shall be” used by everyone, including Government, for pricing goods and services, recording debts, accounting and settling domestic transactions. This would eliminate the system whereby goods and services are priced and charged in foreign currency or in both local and foreign currency.
“The President should set aside SI 33 of 2019. He should act responsibly and be accountable to Zimbabweans. That instrument puts the United States Dollar at par with the RTGS dollar whereby it was noted the two currencies would trade 1:1. The President, the Minister of Finance, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor and the Attorney General are the respondents in the application lodged at the High Court today.
“The consequences of the statutory instrument are dire to companies and individuals. Companies like Omnia, which manufactures fertiliser, for example, will be affected. To show that the RTGS Dollar is useless, around March or April President Mnangagwa visited the Cyclone affected area of Chimanimani where he received a donation for victims and said the United States Dollar was the real currency and the RTGS Dollar not a real currency. He made a mockery of the currency that he wants to legalise. We have served the notice to the President and Zanu (PF) to show them that the time to manipulate Zimbabweans is over,” Busha said.
Busha said it was time to offer actual solutions to Zimbabwe’s financial and social problems instead of re-introducing a currency that is being rejected by all citizens. He said for it to succeed, the currency should be backed by economic development activities.
The politician, represented by his lawyer Tichawana Nyahuma of Nyahuma’s Law Golden Stairs Chambers, said the alternative is to keep a basket of currencies including the United States Dollar, which is the world’s currency of choice as well as the Rand, a currency widely used and accepted in many countries in the SADC region.