Bond notes and democracy
By Trevor Makonyonga
Democracy can be simply defined as a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them; the political orientation of those who favour government by the people or by their elected representatives or the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organised group can make decisions binding on the whole group. Since the Zimbabwean government officials always brag about how the sitting government was democratically elected the question is do they view the people’s democratic view in the running of the country or they simply impose on the people? The issue of bond notes is a specimen of how things have been done in Zimbabwe. A few duty bearers sit on a round table and decide the fate of the millions of Zimbabweans who in most cases are not even consulted prior to decision making.
A noted definition of democracy says, the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organised group can make decisions binding on the whole group. In Zimbabwe currently the numerical group is against the bond notes but because of how chaotic Zimbabwe’s organisation is, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is going ahead issuing the notes as legal tender despite the people denying them. It only took a signature from President Robert Mugabe to undermine the wishes of the majority. The RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya has been engaged on several occasions by Zimbabweans across all spectrums of society to abort the issuing of bond notes but it seems the cries of the people have not been heard. Although there is a cash crisis, Zimbabweans still do not see the coming of the bond notes as remedy rather it is a return of the 2008 situation.
Despite the RBZ assuring the public that the bond notes will be trading equivalent with the United States Dollar the biggest question that has arisen is why the RBZ will be adding 5% of an amount to anyone who sends forex in return for bond notes. This makes it even difficult for Zimbabweans to trust the government which already has a history of telling things that are opposite from the truth. The government, that was democratically elected, solely imposed a law in 2015 which saw a number of people being retrenched without due benefits. The same government promised 2.2 million jobs in 2013 and up to now nothing has been realised. With this track record, what makes the bond notes any different from the other virtual truths the government said in the past?
Not so long ago, the same government imposed SI64 which banned the importing of commodities to supposedly promote local businesses. The public were excluded in this resolution and this caused a public outraged. In a properly organised representative democracy the majority view is considered and public enquiries are made to ascertain the majority’s thoughts. In Zimbabwe, this lacks this is now causing people to the government to hear them.
The issue of bypassing people’s views has made the Zimbabwe situation even worse. Very few elected politicians in Zimbabwe go to communities to allow the electorate to give their views on national issues. This excludes the public from policy making and encourages the imposing of policies on the public. For a start, the Zimbabwe government has to do the right thing by listening to the cries of the people who democratically elected them into power. The use of the presidential powers to allow the coming of bond notes make it seem as if the president’s voice alone is more powerful than the millions of discontent Zimbabweans.
Maybe with proper education and inclusion Zimbabweans would have accepted the bond notes. As it stands, the government has to respect the people of Zimbabwe by aborting the release of bond notes. It is an irreplaceable quality of a democracy to respect the majority. It is not too late to start including the public but the coming of the bond note is not being done democratically. zimbabwenewsday