Manoeuvres by President Robert Mugabe to bring the Zimbabwe dollar back in circulation should be condemned in the strongest terms.
The Standard Editorial
Addressing his supporters at the launch of Zanu PF’s election manifesto recently, Mugabe said he had held discussions with central bank chief, Gideon Gono, on how a “gold-backed” Zimbabwe dollar could be revived.
While many might dismiss statements made during campaigning as mere politicking, Mugabe’s pronouncement betrays a deep-seated longing in Zanu PF to bring back the banished currency as part of its survival strategy.
Since 2010, Zanu PF officials have been agitating for the return of the local currency and the matter has been discussed at the party’s conferences.
The Zim dollar, which was printed willy nilly from 2006 up to 2008, was used to fund programmes such as the farm mechanisation which mainly benefited those connected to the then ruling party.
Party chefs had access to the worthless dollars, which they used to buy forex on the black market, and in the process amassed riches. These people no longer have the same privileges under a multi-currency regime hence their desire to go back to the past.
What Mugabe is failing to appreciate is that the Zim dollar is deeply unpopular with Zimbabweans who suffered during the days of hyperinflation.
Only those with short memories would forget the long-winding queues at banks, supermarkets, service stations and the general economic meltdown that occurred as hyperinflation soared to 231 million percent.
The multi-currency regime, though not perfect, has brought stability to the economy and shop shelves are bustling with products.
The people spoke in 2007-2008 when they started transacting in foreign currency and their will should be respected.
The Zim dollar can only be considered once all the fundamentals needed for a solid currency are in place.
By advocating the return of the Zim dollar, Mugabe has not only shown that he does not have the interests of people at heart but is bereft of ideas as he seeks re-election.