‘Zimbabwe govt drafting laws to imprison Zim dollar black market operators’ – Chiwenga

Vice President General (Retd) Dr Constantino Chiwenga
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MARONDERA – Those involved in black-market trading and damaging the economy are acting illegally and face arrest and imprisonment, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga said yesterday, while stating that the Zimbabwe dollar will remain the major currency for transactions.

Speaking at a Zanu-PF rally in Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera yesterday while addressing thousands of party supporters in support of candidates contesting the three seats for the National Assembly and 10 local authority wards in the March 26 by-elections, he condemned the black market manipulators for the economic hardship they brought.

“We all know the effect that the black market has on the economy, that it leads to price spirals of goods and services and weakening of the local currency,” said VP Chiwenga.

“The Government is busy addressing the issue. We want to be frank with each other here. We will come down hard on those people without fear or favour; they ought to be imprisoned, this time around there will be no leniency.”

Turning to the Zimbabwean dollar, VP Chiwenga said the country will not abandon the local currency as is being pushed by some elements in the opposition.

He said the Government, through former Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, introduced the multi-currency system in 2009. The opposition unsuccessfully sought to get rid of the Zimbabwe dollar through Mr Tendai Biti who was Finance and Economic Development Minister during the inclusive Government between 2009 to 2013.

“When Biti, as head of Treasury came, they pushed for exclusive use of the United States dollar. That was rejected. We want to continue using the Zimbabwean dollar and it will remain in circulation as our major currency of transaction,” he said.

VP Chiwenga said part payment of civil servants’ salaries in foreign currency did not in any way mean that Government was abandoning the local currency.

He chronicled several developmental projects that have been spearheaded by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa in line with the desire to have an upper-middle-class economy by 2030, anchored by the National Development Strategy 1.

There are a number of infrastructural projects being spearheaded by the Government in Mashonaland East and the rest of the country.

These include Kunzvi Dam, Muchekeranwa Dam, Chivhu Dam, Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, among others, that have transformed many communities.

The government is also pursuing the devolution agenda to develop communities with title deeds to be given to many homeowners who constructed houses on land found to be illegally sold after sellers were getting it from corrupt opposition councillors.

VP Chiwenga said it had now become evident that the opposition has nothing to offer given the failure by the MDC-dominated local authorities to provide even minimum services to residents.

“Since 2000, the days of Ian Kay (a former MDC legislator in Marondera) there is nothing that has come from the opposition. Let us drive out the opposition by rallying behind our leader President Mnangagwa,” he said.

The Vice-President castigated the opposition for seeking to assume power riding on the suffering of people through calling for the imposition of sanctions by the United States and other Western countries.

He called for unity among party members particularly those candidates who lost the right to represent the party in primary elections.

Some of the people he united were Cdes Ignatious Mateveke and Cleopas Kundiwona who among other candidates participated in primary elections in Marondera Central constituency.
Cde Mateveke won the right to represent Zanu PF.

The other two party candidates for the National Assembly are Jeremiah Chiwetu in Marondera East and Nyasha Masoka in Murehwa South.