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Lost in translation: ZiG currency disconnected with citizens’ needs

It was a sunny April 5when suddenly a dark cloud of déjà vu hovered all over Zimbabwe following the announcement of the new currency, ZiG, by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Mushayavanhu.

Unfortunately, this is the sixth time in the economic history of Zimbabwe, that a new currency has been introduced or restructured without citizens, business and investor consultation.

Like the Bourbon monarchy after the French revolution, the Emmerson Mnangagwa administration has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.

The name “ZiG” itself seems to embody the erratic and unpredictable nature of Zimbabwean politics, resembling the bewildering zig-zag trajectory that the country has experienced under successive regimes.

Dear John Mushayavanhu, not Mangudya, listen to the cries of the citizens — heed their pulse.

In his announcement, the RBZ governor noted that the new currency sought to “address exchange rate volatility, curtail inflation, restore macro-economic stability, rebuild market confidence and trust as well as bank policy credibility”.

On the contrary, the new currency has resulted in public fear, despair, panic, outrage, and uncertainty.

It is evident that the introduction of the ZiG currency is a cause for concern.

The government’s failure to address the fundamental issues underlying the country’s economic woes, coupled with a lack of transparency, consultation, and accountability, has left many questioning the wisdom of this move.

It is imperative that the government takes concrete steps to ensure the stability and value of the ZiG, and to restore the faith of its citizens in the country’s economic future.

Anything less would be akin to chasing fool’s gold in a nation already burdened with the consequences of zig-zag politics.

Sadly, the announcement of the ZiG was not preceded by any citizen needs assessment or business and investor consultation.

 The introduction of this new currency seems to be disconnected from the needs and realities of the citizens, signaling a flawed monetary strategy that fails to align with the principles of human rights and economic justice.

Unlike Amos in the Bible, I am not a prophet of doom but rather the pulse and conduit of the community voices. We are concerned citizens calling to be heard.

From a human rights perspective, access to a stable and reliable currency is crucial for the realization of economic and social rights.

The introduction of the ZiG currency was meant to instill confidence in the financial system and restore stability to the economy.

However, the lack of transparency and effective communication regarding the rollout of the new currency has only served to breed mistrust and uncertainty among the citizens.

A key principle of human rights is the right to information and participation.

In the case of the ZiG currency, the lack of clear information about its implementation and potential impact has left many Zimbabweans feeling disempowered and unheard.

The currency transition has been marred by confusion and chaos, with reports of halting of online transactions by banks, Ecocash, Econet, ZEDTC and other local service providers.

In addition, the ZiG currency has failed to address the broader structural issues that underpin the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, including corruption, mismanagement, and lack of investment in key sectors such as agriculture and infrastructure.

Without addressing these systemic issues, any monetary strategy, including the introduction of a new currency, is unlikely to result in meaningful and sustainable change for the people of Zimbabwe.

Ultimately, the ZiG currencies disconnect with the needs and rights of the citizens exemplifies the flawed approach to economic management in Zimbabwe.

A genuine commitment to human rights and economic justice must guide any future monetary strategies, with a focus on inclusive and sustainable development that benefits all Zimbabweans.

Failure to do so will only perpetuate the cycle of economic instability and inequality, leaving the most vulnerable in Zimbabwe to bear the heaviest burden.

In its current state, the new monetary policy and the ZiG has left citizens behind. It resembles another Ponzi scheme perpetuating economic exploitation of already suffering masses and citizens.

This is even worsened by the timing in the introduction of the currency.

The timing begs the question of whether the government’s priorities are truly aligned with the needs of the people.

At a time when Zimbabwe continues to grapple with pressing issues such as poverty, drought, unemployment, and access to basic services, the decision to focus on a new currency raises concerns about misplaced priorities.

It is essential for the government to address the root causes of economic instability and prioritise the well-being of its citizens, rather than embarking on symbolic gestures that may do little to alleviate the country’s deeper economic challenges.

Moving forward, it is essential for the Zimbabwean government to reevaluate its monetary strategy through a human rights lens and by listening to the needs of people.

It is essential for the government to involve civil society, economic experts, and affected communities in the decision-making process.

This includes prioritising transparency, accountability, and participation in decision-making processes related to economic policies.

This will aid in ensuring that the new currency serves the interests of all Zimbabweans, particularly those most vulnerable to economic shocks.

Only through a more inclusive and participatory approach can Zimbabwe hope to achieve a sustainable and equitable economic future.

The Mnangagwa regime would do well to heed the lessons of history and strive to implement meaningful reforms that will lead to lasting economic stability, rather than repeating the same mistakes of the past.

Source | TheStandard


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