NEWS

Mugabe 'Blocked Adoption Of SA rand', Says Former Finance Minister 

20/05/2017 10:26 SAST | Updated 20/05/2017 10:26 SAST
REUTERS
President Robert Mugabe speaks to supporters gathered to celebrate his 93rd birthday at Matopas near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, February 25, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe's former finance minister Tendai Biti has reportedly disclosed how President Robert Mugabe blocked the adoption of the South African rand as the country's official currency in 2010.

According to News Day, Biti, now the leader of the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP), said Mugabe rejected proposals to adopt the rand, as he argued: "Why should we use another person's currency?"

Biti said this while addressing a financial market conference in Harare on Thursday.

Ironically Mugabe's rejection of the rand came at a time when the southern African country was already using the US dollar and other currencies, including the SA rand.

Zimbabwe has been using a multi-currency system since 2009, to combat hyperinflation.

"The simple question from him [Mugabe] was: 'Why should we use another person's currency?' And I said but the United States dollar is another person's currency," Biti was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe is currently facing a cash crisis, with analysts and opposition parties calling for the use of the rand as an official currency to ease the shortages.

In December 2016, the Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was quoted as saying: "I urge the government to open negotiations with Pretoria so that we adopt the Rand as a major currency ahead of the US dollar because we trade a lot with South Africa compared to the Unites States of America; 95% of our economic activity is with the rand."

Tsvangirai at the time slammed the country's central bank for introducing the bond notes saying they were not the solution to the country's liquidity problems.

"We can all be proud to be Zimbabweans with our own dollar but it does not mean anything if it's worth nothing. Time has now come to bring to the attention of the Zanu-PF government that all its policies are short-lived and bringing these bond notes that I equate to bond paper is suicidal; this is the last nail on the country's economy," Tsvangirai said. -- News24