Structured ZiG currency is not the one that is needed now: Nelson Chamisa tells ED Mnangagwa

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OPPOSITION politician Nelson Chamisa has made fresh calls for talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu PF party to address the currency crisis that has seen authorities dump the Zimdollar. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mushayavanhu on Friday introduced a new currency known as Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) to replace the local unit that has been in place since 2019.

On Saturday, electronic payments were suspended to allow for conversion to ZiG with indications that transactions will start going through from today.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Chamisa said Zimbabwe needed dialogue to address the challenges bedevilling the country.

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“Political change of the current leadership is required, not currency,” Chamisa said.

“We have walked this path before, there wasn’t any change.

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“You can change governors a million times, but without dealing with the fundamental issue of broken politics, no governor will perform magic.

“There was Gideon Gono,

John Mangudya and now Mushayavanhu.

“There has been the story of RTGS, gold coins, bond notes, and then the US$…”

He added: “Structured currency is not the one that is needed now. What we need is a structured dialogue.”

The former Citizens Coalition for Change leader said there had not been any talks between political players on the challenges the country is facing.

Chamisa refused to accept the results of the August 2023 elections in which Mnangagwa was declared the winner.

Zanu PF has said Mnangagwa is open to dialogue but through the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) — a platform where losing presidential candidates interact with the President.

Chamisa has refused to join Polad saying it is a Zanu PF cheerleaders’ club.

“We need a proper dialogue,” Chamisa said.

“We need a national conversation. We are a nation that is not talking to one another. Conversation is the crux of our crisis.”

“The economy is just a symptom of the problem that we have in this country. You don’t cure the symptom but the cause.”

Critics say the success of any currency is not only predicated on monetary and fiscal policies but on other relevant issues like politics they see as the elephant in the room.

Authorities on Saturday evening issued a notice to the public saying ZiG notes and coins will only be available from April 30.

The RBZ said the phased-out Zimdollar would, however, continue being legal tender till April 30.

A survey yesterday, however, revealed a different picture as traders, some shops and commuter omnibus crews were rejecting Zimdollar notes.

There was also chaos at Mbare Musika as vendors were also rejecting the bond notes.

NewsDay toured several markets in the capital including Mbare Musika where there was confusion over the new currency.

Some customers also refused Zimdollar change.

Samuel Wadzanai, director of the Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation, said they were having a tough time educating their members to continue accepting the current currency.

“It’s very unfortunate that we are witnessing this confusion,” he said.

“As an organisation we are educating our members about the changeover processes as announced by RBZ.

“We also urge authorities to conduct public awareness campaigns on the currency to calm the market as there is serious confusion.”

In a statement on Saturday night, RBZ said the ZiG notes and coins would start circulating later this month to undertake an “intensive educational awareness campaign on the security features of the ZiG notes and coins”.

“The campaign is expected to reach a wide spectrum of society consistent with the Reserve Bank’s financial inclusion thrust,” RBZ said.

ZiG will operate alongside the United States dollar.

This is not the first time that authorities are phasing out a national currency.

Zimbabwe dumped the local currency in 2009 following historic hyperinflation and introduced multi-currency regime. The local currency was demonetised in 2015. However, it came back via the back door as bond notes a year later and become part of the multi-currency regime that was in place. NewsDay.


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