PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his entire Cabinet team must take a pay cut and stop foisting bond notes on citizens, over 200 activists under the banner of a campaign codenamed #ThisFlag told Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya yesterday.
Source: ‘Mugabe must take pay cut’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 17, 2016
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Speaking during a public meeting in Harare, the activists grilled Mangudya over the rationale behind the introduction of “the Zimbabwe dollar through the back door” and labelled him “small political fish” that would not stand in Mugabe’s way if the Zanu PF leader orders him to print money.
“The President must take a pay cut. He must stop overseas travel that does not bring value to this country. Our ministers must also take a pay cut and the buying of cars must stop,” a contributor to the discussion said.
Mugabe last year claimed he earned $12 000 per month minus allowances, up from $4 000 a month he used to earn the previous year, but did not disclose how his salary had multiplied three-fold in less than 12 months without being gazetted by government.
He even claimed his $12 000 monthly salary was not enough, a remark which angered the majority of Zimbabweans who are surviving on a dollar a day.
The call for the Zanu PF leader to have a salary cut came at a time he is alleged to have blown over $50 million in foreign junkets since the beginning of this year when the economy is teetering on the brink of collapse.
In response, Mangudya said: “I do not think we will be manipulated and history will show that we had budgeted for $50 million in bond coins, but we only have $10 million. We do not have an appetite for more and have not been manipulated.”
But another contributor shot in: “Our problem is the man in that picture frame (pointing to a Mugabe portrait). He is too powerful and the time will come when he will ask the governor to print money and the latter will not be able to say no.”
Mugabe last week declared that there was no going back on bond notes.
Lawyer Fadzai Mahere, who was among the participants, described Mangudya’s move to introduce bond notes this coming October as “manifestly unconstitutional, unfair and illegal”.
“Government owes an obligation of conduct that is lawful, legal, reasonable and fair. Nowhere in the law does the law give the governor power to introduce bond notes. It is not fair to take my money and give me paper. It could be argued that it is unconstitutional. Bond notes are a creation of the governor, that is unknown at both law and economics,” Mahere said.
“It is not fair to take my money and replace it with a paper that nobody recognises and does not know its genesis, a paper that no one respects.”
However, Mangudya, who was constantly heckled in his responses, said the bond notes were the same as “debt instruments, promissory notes or Treasury Bills”.
“Nobody is being forced. What is lacking is confidence and trust. We have been misunderstood at times because of fear, lack of confidence and lack of clarity on our part,” he said.
Mahere intimated the possibility of taking government to court over the emotive issue.
“Section 85 of the Constitution gives us the right to approach the court if there is a suspicion that there is a likelihood that a right will be infringed upon. If you see a thief running towards you, you have a right to approach the court to stop them,” he said.
“Mangudya had an obligation to make sure that there is a legal framework that supported what he proposed to do, not to think about the law as an afterthought.”
Mahere added that while former RBZ governor Gideon Gono’s actions hurt many Zimbabweans, he acted within the confines of the law.
“We did not like what Gono did, but at least it was lawful. The problem with Mangudya’s proposal is that it is unlawful. Is it rational and reasonable to pay a 5% incentive to Zimplats (platinum mining giant) because it is an exporter? What incentive does Zimplats need? They are making a killing and that is why they bank in Panama,” Mahere
Clergyman and #ThisFlag campaign leader Evan Mawarire later presented Mangudya with a plaque of the country’s $100 trillion bearers cheque inscribed with the words: “Dear Governor. Lest we forget. We must never allow this to happen to citizens again.”