Now that Zimbabwe govt has effectively abandoned local currency why continue burdening citizens with useless money?

After going through the recently re-released primary and secondary school examination fee structure, it was unequivocally plain that the Zimbabwe government had effectively hammered the final nail in the coffin of our local currency.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

It cannot be denied any longer – the Zimbabwe dollar is as good as dead, and the only logical step left is the saying of the official burial rites!

What was even more telling about the local currency’s final gasps of breath, was the apparent abrupt backtracking by the government – since, the examination body (Zimbabwe School Examination Council [ZIMSEC]) initially released an earlier Zim dollar-based fee structure a month ago, but eventually decided to go the United States dollar (USD) route yesterday.

What could be clearer that this, to prove the country’s authorities’ utter lack of confidence in the Zim dollar, whose re-introduction in 2019 was understandably met with immense skepticism and cynicism – after being dropped in 2009, after a decade of embarrassing world-record hyperinflation, as well as a glaring absence of the necessary economic environment to sustain a local currency?

If anything, this move was by no means the first, neither will it be the last – as the government had already been charging other services in the greenback, including passport fees, bonuses and allowances for civil servants, as well as part payments to farmers for their produce, and of course, it has always been in doubt whether senior officials were ever paid in the local currency.

Yet, amidst all this, to everyone’s shock and amazement, the Zimbabwe administration still insists that this all-but-dead-and-buried dollar be kept on a life-support system – despite the undoubted signs of its rejection by the very same authorities.

Is that not ironic – if not downright disingenuous and hypocritical?

What is even more tragic and cruel is the stubbornness in paying civil servants in useless Zim dollars – yet, everything else in the country, including goods and services by their own employer, being charged in US dollars.

This is setting a very terrible and dangerous precedence, since this trend is subsequently copied by the public sector – who similarly sell their products and services mostly in the greenback, but regrettably resort to the local currency when it comes to their employees’ salaries.

If these Zim dollar salaries had been pegged at the prevailing interbank or Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) auction exchange rate, this would have been more reasonable – nonetheless, both the public and private sectors have crookedly opted for salaries that remain stagnant for months on end (if not years), in the midst of a currency depreciating on a nearly daily basis.

The question then becomes – why are the powers-that-be in Zimbabwe stubbornly sticking to a currency that has been overwhelmingly rejected, not only by the rest of the country, but also the government itself?

I am not sure if those supposed economists and industrialists vehemently advocating for the continuation of the Zim dollar, even want to carry that currency in their pockets, nor desire it in their bank accounts.

Who would want a currency which, even street vendors now resent and loathe with a passion?

High-sounding economic talk justifying the imperativeness of the Zim dollar is one thing – but, let us all face facts that are staring us straight in the eyes…NO ONE WANTS THAT CURRENCY ANYMORE!

Those adamantly calling for its continued use in Zimbabwe should start by proving that they, themselves, are prepared to be paid in this currency, and that this would be their money of choice.

Without that, why are those in favor of the Zim dollar willing to watch as ordinary citizens are burdened with a currency that has caused nothing but untold suffering in their livelihoods?

It is time for the Harare administration to finally man-up and do the right thing, by ditching this woefully useless currency – at least, until the economic environment becomes conducive enough for its sustainability.

Furthermore, it is pointless, and rather ridiculous to hold on to a currency simply on the grounds that others countries use their own monies.

Blind ego has never been a strength, but a debilitating weakness.

Having a local currency merely for the sake of having a local currency is not too clever – even when it has proven a huge embarrassing disaster.

Indeed, with a very strong currency as the US dollar, our products inevitably become too expensive to export – which explains why some countries as Japan deliberately devalue their own monies – leading to the further suffering of our own industries…but, the fact still remains that this Zim dollar experiment is causing more harm than good, and unspeakable devastation to those who matter the most – the ordinary citizenry.

If the reported increase in local products and export receipts, due to the re-introduction of the Zim dollar, has failed to improve the country’s economic fundamentals – enough to stabilize our own currency – then, what point is there in insisting in more sacrifices on the part of Zimbabweans?

Whether the real problem lies in a severely flawed, corrupt, and rigged RBZ auction system, or some shadowy and faceless economic saboteurs – whom authorities always promise to expose, but never do, save for a few scapegoats, whose arrests never appear to change anything – the fact remains constant…the people have suffered enough, on account of this Zim dollar, and cannot take it anymore.

We are fed up with such arrogance by the ruling establishment – a harrowing repeat of the early 2000s, whereby the regime stubbornly resisted unending calls for the abandonment of the freefalling local currency, when a loaf of bread could cost billions, if not trillions of Zim dollars – only to listen in 2009, after callously destroying our parents’ lives, as their pensions, investments, and savings were wiped out literally overnight.

Is this what the government intends seeing again, before finally heeding voices of common sense?

With the way these people in the ruling elite are so heartless, I would not be surprised at all.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]

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