Governor Dr Mangudya fails to consult Zimbabweans on Bond Note law
Now that the bond note law has been promulgated as Statutory Instrument 133 of 2016, Zimbabweans are waiting with much abated breath for the day they shall be in circulation. Not that it is all excitement for their introduction but with the liquidity crisis biting so much, most people have adopted the defeated stance of saying better the bond notes than nothing to transact with.
The queues in the local banks are nothing but the painful reminder of the dark times of 2007/8 as people are now sleeping at the doorsteps of these banks. The number system at these queues that haunted us all in 2007/8 is back in full swing but has seen only one hundred people being given some money a day. In as much as we have been told to embrace plastic money, what then happens to folk from the rural community whom I believe do not have as yet the facilities to trade in plastic money? Will only those in the urban areas have access to their money in plastic form? An elitist solution some may call it, as it cannot be universally applied without its problems. Or are we animals of habit who become uncomfortable once thrown in the deep end of something unfamiliar and alien to us?
We have also seen many local banks attempting to unilaterally vary the terms and conditions of the contracts they signed with their clients. Had it not been for the bold stance Advocate Fadzayi Mahere took to inform the citizens that is within their rights to refuse such unilateral varying, we would have seen many citizens signing as they are desperate for money. As a result the culprit banks issued press statements to retract which was a positive.
However, it is disappointing to note that on the economic forum highlights from Thursday night, the Reserve Bank Governor ,Dr John Mangudya failed to explain why they skipped the consultative stage with all stakeholders of the economy before enforcing the promulgated Bond Note legislative instrument. He acknowledged the supremacy of the Constitution as per section 2 of the Constitution but failed to justify his failure to observe the spirit and the letter of the supreme law of the land which demands that the citizenry should be consulted.
His actions or inactions are tantamount to undermining the Constitution and undermining the constitution is indeed tantamount to undermining the people of Zimbabwe. The Governor has erred and this is not the first time we have seen the proviso of the Constitution being disregarded in this turbulent year in Zimbabwe. First it was the arrest of protestors under the draconian law of POSA whilst they were exercising their freedom of expression and right to protest peacefully that is enshrined in the Constitution, then the introduction of the blanket ban on all demonstrations in the capital city and the introduction of the bond notes themselves which does not respect the spirit and the letter of the Constitution. The law is not clear on the penalty for those who disregard the constitution and maybe that is why disregard of its proviso has become the order of the day.
Funny enough he has decided to consult with the citizens after the bond note law has been promulgated, which is a slap in the face to Zimbabweans. This consultation shall happen this afternoon at the reserve bank. It is my belief that Zimbabweans have a duty to attend this meeting and make it unequivocally clear what they think about the Bond notes and why His Excellency used a stealthy Presidential Powers Temporary Measures Act to legislate it. The said Act is said to be invalid and unconstitutional and has people questioning the move by Government to resort to this Act so as to introduce the bond notes. Sinister agenda most are saying.
There is also the pertinent question that needs to be raised that is to the effect that Bond notes shall only be valid for 180 days as asserted by legal watchdog Veritas. This is important for the citizenry to highlight because we need to be clear on what shall transpire once the 180 days prescribe.