Zanu PF youths have declared war on illegal traders and ruling party bigwigs suspected of being behind the country’s thriving foreign currency black market.
Their warning comes as bond notes continue to crash precipitously against the United States dollar — causing mayhem in mainstream business and resulting in panicking shoppers rushing to hoard basic goods.
Zanu PF youth league secretary Pupurai Togarepi (54) yesterday said that illegal money changers and their “bosses” had a week to leave the streets or face the consequences.
“While patience is a virtue, this should never be misconstrued for docility.
“We have watched in horror and dismay so-called money changers holding this nation to ransom and we cannot continue to let these greedy and corrupt individuals continue to bleed this great nation which is on an economic rebound and a new political trajectory under the able leadership of President ED Mnangagwa just to line their pockets.
“We will not hesitate to take the money and hand it over to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in a transparent and accountable way,” Togarepi warned.
This comes as the country is gripped by a critical shortage of foreign currency which has impacted the economy very negatively.
Togarepi, who is also the Zanu PF chief whip in Parliament, also said they would “smoke out” party bigwigs whom they accused of fuelling the illegal currency trading.
“Let those behind these crooks who are hoarding our monies know that we have the means to smoke them out and we will only give them seven days to shape up or ship out.
“The youth league, as the vanguard of the country, will not tolerate this nonsense any further and very soon we will descend on the robbers who are masquerading as money changers.
“This stern warning also applies to foreigners who have hijacked our retail sector … we are not against investment but we abhor this practice by foreigners of mopping up forex and externalising it to their home countries,” the Gutu South MP said.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a mega economic crisis which has led to company closures, severe job cuts and price increases on the back of foreign currency shortages.
The government’s recent attempts to revive the economy have suffered setbacks as weary Zimbabweans accuse authorities of piling more taxes on them instead of assisting them.
On Monday, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube introduced a raft of measures aimed at breathing life into the country’s sickly economy— including a two cents per dollar transaction tax which has backfired spectacularly after being rejected by angry Zimbabweans.
Militant labour unions have warned that they are preparing to go on strike — to protest the tax.
Despite Ncube’s later revision of his measures, the situation has blown into a full-scale crisis, as businesses have hiked goods prices, raising fears that inflation will spiral out of control.
“We have the means. We are the ruling party and we have the law on our side.
“We say it is unacceptable that a foreigner or anyone for that matter lives with millions of US dollars under their mattresses. At the lapse of the seven days we are going to name and shame the thieves posing as investors.
“We will strip them bare and ask relevant authorities to deport them from Zimbabwe. Our people yearn for tangibles and we, as the future of this country, will not allow a few miscreants to stop this beautiful dream whose time has come,” Togarepi thundered further.
“We are also aware that some saboteurs are hell bent on causing artificial shortages of commodities like cement for speculative purposes.
“This will only end badly for them because we as the youth league will ask government to revoke their licences.
“We have the capacity and we will make sure the good of the people is respected.
“This also applies to kombis. We have the names of foreigners who are in the transport business and we know that they are also behind money changers,” he said further.