Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—
CURRENT cash shortages are a temporary challenge and those criticising the introduction of bond notes are either pushing certain political agendas or are ignorant, President Mugabe has said.Addressing the second meeting of the Zanu-PF Central Committee for this year, the President said the introduction of bond notes was coming as a solution to the cash crisis, although the long-term answer would be the introduction of the local currency.
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The issue of bond notes, President Mugabe said, should be positively explained to the public in light of the virulent disinformation from opposition quarters. He said bond notes would hedge against externalisation of the country’s foreign earnings by some unscrupulous businesspeople.
“We think those opposing them (bond notes) are really either politically doing so or doing so out of ignorance but we know it can work. So the issue of bond notes should be explained to our people, all the more so against disinformation which is being mounted by the opposition,” he said.
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“We will have bond notes backed by an amount of US$200 million secured from one of our generous banks, an African bank. So this generous African bank knows about the plan. They support it and we hope when the bond notes will come like they will certainly, prove to be the cure to the challenges we have but of course the best cure is that we have our own currency in due course.
“As our reserves grow, so will the population of bond notes, all to ensure, a one-to-one correspondence between bond notes in circulation and US dollar notes we hold in our reserves.
“The idea is to stop those crooks who were taking advantage of the availability of the US dollar in the market to spirit away. They will now have to deal in bond notes as a “surrogate” currency to the US currency we hold in our vaults. The intervention is thus well meant and calculated to protect our foreign currency earnings.
“Our country, rated second to South Africa in terms of industrialisation in Southern Africa, had abandoned manufacturing for trading because of the sanctions and other challenges that we faced there was this shrinkage of the economy and industries could not operate as before. We were reduced to producing goods for the domestic market and not enough to enable us to export.
“We thus are no longer creating wealth but trading in wealth created by other economies by way of irrational imports that were flooding and are still flooding our markets. So, it’s more of importage and to import we have to use the US dollar.
“Change was thus necessary and hence the raft of measures we have since adopted which should restore and put the ethic of productivity at the core of our overall planning.” President Mugabe said the gateway to economic revival was to ensure food sufficiency.
He said intensive efforts are being made to resuscitate the irrigation infrastructure to harness water bodies in the country. President Mugabe said full productivity should be Zanu-PF’s clarion call.
Said President Mugabe: “Soon I also shall be visiting provinces to give our readiness for this thrust which must change our crop.
“In the meantime, it is vitally important that food relief reach every village, every house in need. I am aware that whilst there is enough in the country secured through our imports there are logistical shortcomings which have hindered food distribution and therefore food access at house level – some places are not getting enough food because of transport difficulties.
“The party should help Government in mobilising transport so that food reaches every corner and every family in need. Access to food must never be coloured political consideration.”
Turning to political developments in the country, President Mugabe urged war veterans to respect appointments made by the President and not seek to direct the party’s political processes. He said the mandate of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association should be confined to the welfare of the freedom fighters.
“What is this noise now that we hear from certain quarters, war veterans’ association leadership? No! We say no! And a big no! The hallmark of a trained cadre is discipline, impeccable discipline, obedience,” said the President. “The hallmark of trained cadres is steadfast knowledge of the party line. Gwara remusangano. Yes the hallmark of a genuinely trained cadre is a firm sense of station and hierarchy.
“I am what I am. My seniors are what they are. The party is what it is to all of us. The rules bind us. But altogether we move in our various posts in various places in harmony and not in disorder, not in discordance. We do not wish to be at odds with young people who were with us yesterday when as we fought for our independence. Alongside their peers they made sacrifices we recognise and appreciate the war veterans. I was, we were, some of us still alive with them all the time to the very end. We appreciate the sacrifices.
“The youths took positions which must be hallowed and praised by all our people but by the same token just as so much is owed them by our party and our nation so much is expected of them by the same party and nation that readily applaud their contributions. It has always been the party and the people. The party leading the war veterans. Politics leading the gun never the gun leading politics.”
Continued President Mugabe: “The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association was formed to cater for the welfare of our veterans, war veterans and not champion the political struggle. No. Never. Not to be the boss of the party and never to be the bully of the party.
“Not the entity to make the choices who should lead and who should not. Never, ever. Except within the people, within the party, always within the party. Not outside the party. Dissidents tried it. They were war veterans, to fight us and you know what happened. Lots of trouble, lots of fighting, lots of suffering caused to our people and dissidents activities cannot be allowed again when in December 1987 Cde Joshua Nkomo and I put our heads together and our hearts together and said never again shall we allow this to happen.
“We shall always be the unity of Zapu and Zanu. And so that unity was not just the unity of the people without war veterans. Do we see another rise of dissident activities? Well, we the leadership with our experience say no! No to the war veterans association! It’s not your function, it’s not your business to talk of who shall succeed the President.”
President Mugabe said it was not proper for anyone to use the war veterans’ welfare body as a platform to attack the top leadership or for seeking to direct party processes in a certain direction preferred by some individuals within that body.
He said such actions amounted dissidents behaviour. As the party drifted towards, 2018 harmonised elections, President Mugabe said it was important to mobilise people and take stock of the party structures. He said the party should take welfare of its membership including livelihoods projects for the youths.
President Mugabe said there should be proof that there was genuine membership by way of registration through paid up party cards.