Gono’s Murambatsvina gobbles $1 trillion

Augustine Mukaro/ Loughty Dube



THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will spend an estimated $1 trillion in a military-style operation to harvest old bearer cheques from all corn

ers of the country and to arraign those trying to repatriate huge amounts of cash into the country.


The Zimbabwe Independent has established that the central bank is paying $40 million in transport and subsistence allowances to each of the 600 Zanu PF militia recruited to take part in the exercise as enforcers.


The Independent also heard that the RBZ was paying its senior officials in charge of distributing the new bearer cheques across the country and bringing back old notes a daily allowance of $45 million. The senior officials have been issued with new Isuzu trucks to carry out the exercise while more vehicles are being mobilised.


CMED (Pvt) Ltd, a parastatal, has been tasked with sourcing vehicles for hire to complement government and central bank fleets. Yesterday the CMED put up an advertisement in the press inviting vehicle owners to hire them to the parastatal.


Officials at the CMED said owners of hired vehicles would be paid a fixed rate of about $20 million per day for a vehicle and provided with fuel and all other lubricants needed to run a vehicle. All mileage travelled past the 100 kilometres/day would earn an extra $150 000 per kilometre. The vehicles are needed to transport new money from Harare to different parts of the country.


The campaign is expected to last 30 days plus.


Gono’s blitz has reportedly caused problems in the countryside as people are having their money confiscated at roadblocks on the way to the banks.


Rural business owners are the most affected as they cannot produce tax clearance certificates and company registrations to authenticate the sources of their funds. No receipts are issued at roadblocks as proof that their money had been seized by state agents.


A businessman who runs an art gallery in the Mvurwi area said he had lost about $300 million 500 metres from his bank where he wanted to deposit it. “I cannot speak for everybody everywhere, but I can tell you all the rural people are doomed,” the businessman said. “Most rural traders keep their cash at home for everyday stock,” he said.


The central bank has also embarked on a massive publicity campaign in both the electronic and print media to educate the public on the new notes. It has also contracted a Harare company to erect billboards around the country’s urban centres to advertise the new currency reforms. A billboard costs at least $1,5 billion to erect.


This week youth militia were being dispatched to different parts of the country from the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare in hired Zupco buses. Zanu PF sources said the youths came from the country’s 10 provinces. The youths could be seen milling around the party headquarters courtyard this week. They were transported by Zupco buses in the evenings.


Inside sources said a prerequisite for recruitment was a certificate from the National Youth Training Service coupled with a Zanu PF card.


“The youths were promised $40 million on deployment,” sources from the RBZ said. “Their other remunerations will be given on government rates since they have been recruited through the Ministry of Youth.”


Besides the militia, the RBZ has taken on board retired police officers to handle weapons and beef up security.


Reports from border posts revealed that militia in their green fatigues were carrying out body and luggage searches after travellers were cleared by immigration officials.

Presenting his mid-year monetary policy on Monday, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono, introduced a new currency and gave people 21 days to bank the old currency.


He set restrictions on daily amounts that can be deposited by individuals and companies.


Maximum daily deposits for individuals have been set at $100 million while companies are limited to $5 billion.


He said youths would be deployed at the country’s points of entry to work together with the police and exchange control officials to apprehend travellers smuggling cash back into the country.


Gono revealed that of the $43 trillion in circulation, the RBZ could account for only between $10 and $15 trillion.
The rest “is doing some work outside the country”, said a visibly
exasperated Gono.


On Wednesday Gono told CZI congress delegates in Bulawayo that by Tuesday law enforcement agents had intercepted $100 billion being brought back into the country.


He said a total of $75 billion was seized at Beitbridge and Plumtree border posts while $15 billion was intercepted at Victoria Falls and Chirundu border posts with the rest coming from Forbes Border post in Mutare.


The cash was seized from mostly truck drivers.


Gono said the youths were reinforcing law enforcement agents at roadblocks and border posts to stamp out corruption.