Mnangagwa keeping Zim dollar to oppress Zimbabweans!

Source: Mnangagwa keeping Zim dollar to oppress Zimbabweans!

Why is the Zimbabwe government so adamant in holding on to a useless currency?

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

On what logic would anyone believe that it is a good idea to continue using money that loses its value nearly on a daily basis?

In fact, prominent US economist Steve Hanke recently revealed that the local currency had depreciated 95 percent against the greenback since 1st January 2023.

According to the latest ZimStats (Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency) figures, an average Zimbabwean now requires over ZW$432,000 a month to survive (Food Poverty Line).

This is US$30 a month (at the official exchange rate) for only one person, in a country where most workers actually earn less than that!

The local currency is currently trading at 1:15,000 against the US dollar at the official market and 1:17,600 in supermarkets and 1:19,000 at the parallel market rate.

Recently, government nurses stated that they earned a meager US$10 per month after converting their Zimbabwe dollar salaries.

This morning, I was contacted by a senior police officer who retired in November 2023 at the age of 50 years old.

In February this year, he was awarded a lump sum pension payout of ZW$10 million!

That may sound huge on paper – but in actual terms, it is approximately US$714 using the official exchange rate.

This is a person who diligently served the ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police) for 30 years – yet he received US$714 (or US$526 at the more accessible and used parallel market) for all his efforts!

This is how the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa administration is abusing and oppressing workers.

In the meantime, the Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL), which represents the minimum total income needed for an individual not to be deemed poor, went up 177,8 percent from January 2024.

ZimStats says, “The Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for one person  was ZW$553,000 in February 2024.

“This means that an individual required that much to purchase both non-food and food items as at February 2024 in order not to be deemed poor”.

In other words, based on these figures, for one not to be considered poor in Zimbabwe, presently, they needed to earn upwards of US$40.

These are terrifying figures, but they are grossly understated.

The situation in the country is far much worse than the government, and its agencies want to paint.

That is why some international monetary institutions have made it clear on their official websites that statistics from Zimbabwe were maddeningly unreliable.

From the onset, there is no way a miserable US$40 can be said to be enough for one person to cover both food and non-food items.

The Mnangagwa administration is using these depreciation-induced humongous figures to fool the nation and the world.

It would appear that Zimbabweans are earning a lot of money when presented in the useless local currency.

Yet, when converted to ‘real money’ the truth is there for all to see.

Most Zimbabweans need to convert their earnings into the more stable US dollar in order to store value.

Furthermore, most businesses and even private individuals (as landlords) now only accept the greenback – making 80 percent of all transactions in the country in US dollars.

As the official currency market is not accessible by all, the vast majority of ordinary Zimbabweans are forced to resort to the streets where the exchange is much higher, meaning they get less US dollars.

In so doing, what will ordinary Zimbabweans do with US$40 – which is ridiculously claimed by ZimStats to be enough for one person to cover both food and non-food items?

Renting one room, on its own, requires at least US$50.

Traveling to and fro work, using public transport, at the very minimum, costs US$22 for a month.

Already, the figure is US$72 – whereby there will be a need to pay for food, utilities, and other expenses.

Besides, based on ZimStats’ own questionable figures, one person requires at least US$30 a month for food only.

To be frank, using crude calculations, an ordinary Zimbabwean requires not less than US$300 a month not to be considered poor.

In local currency terms, this would be ZW$4.2 million (using the prevailing official exchange rate), or ZW$5.7 million on the parallel market.

How many workers in Zimbabwe are earning anywhere near this figure today?

In fact, how many ordinary citizens are receiving the government-issued dubiously undervalued TCPL figure of ZW$553,000?

Zimbabweans are wallowing in abject poverty, and the Mnangagwa regime does not care.

That is why they stubbornly hold on to the useless local currency as it disguises this oppression of the ordinary citizenry.

When someone were to hear that a senior police officer received ZW$10 million for their retirement package, he would be excused for praising the government for its generosity!

Yet, in real terms, this money will not be enough to sustain the retired officer’s family for more than two months – after having given 30 years of his life to the force.

The same applies to nurses, teachers, and other workers in Zimbabwe.

If the government genuinely wanted to understand the real plight of ordinary citizens, then they would do away with the useless local currency.

When compelled to pay workers in the greenback, that is when they will realize that a nurse earns a paltry US$10!

However, Mnangagwa will never ever remove the local currency as it is a convenient tool to mask the oppression of ordinary Zimbabweans.

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com, or visit website: https://mbofanatendairuben.news.blog/

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