JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Zimbabwe’s Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, has expressed concern over the ongoing depreciation of the country’s currency, the Zimbabwean Dollar (Zim Dollar).
The currency has experienced significant devaluation in the parallel market, dropping from 1200 Zim Dollars to one US dollar to 1600 Zim Dollars to one US dollar earlier this year, reflecting a loss of over 33%.
Mutsvangwa acknowledged the severity of the current challenges and described them as political in nature. She stated that these issues tend to arise during election periods.
However, she assured the public that the government is implementing measures to address the situation, resulting in a gradual decrease in prices. Mutsvangwa emphasized that the government is committed to serving the interests of the people.
In addition to discussing currency challenges, Mutsvangwa also stated that the recently passed Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill, known as the Patriotic Bill, is not intended to silence opposition voices.
The bill introduces new offenses related to undermining the authority of the government and has faced criticism for potential limitations on freedom of expression.
Mutsvangwa emphasized that the bill is aimed at protecting national interests and ensuring accountability, rather than targeting opposition groups.
Zimbabwean Minister of Information Monica Mutsvangwa says the Patriotic Bill is not intended to silence opposition voices:
The upcoming Zimbabwean presidential election, scheduled for August 23, will feature eleven candidates, according to the country’s electoral commission. However, several hopefuls were disqualified for failing to meet the $20,000 requirement to appear on the ballot.
Incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ZANU-PF party is expected to face strong competition from pastor and lawyer Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
Late on Thursday, the electoral commission announced that 11 candidates had been disqualified, including Linda Masarira, who was unable to pay the required fee, thereby diminishing the possibility of a female candidate running for the presidency. Masarira criticized the exorbitant fee, deeming it discriminatory and in violation of non-discrimination principles.
While Mnangagwa and Chamisa are considered the main contenders to address the country’s struggling economy, an independent candidate has emerged in recent weeks. Saviour Kasukuwere, a former minister under Robert Mugabe’s administration who went into exile during the coup that removed Mugabe from power, will run as an independent candidate. Analysts suggest that Kasukuwere could garner support in ZANU-PF strongholds.
Mnangagwa, 80, seeks re-election amid an ongoing economic crisis, with the Zimbabwean dollar experiencing a significant decline against the US dollar. Mnangagwa praised the peaceful and democratic nature of the election process during his nomination filing, while Chamisa expressed confidence that his party is poised to take over the government this time, after narrowly losing in the previous election in 2018.