Zanu PF’s use of force and coercive legal instruments ill advised

By Jacob Mafume

A dark cloud has once again enclosed the motherland; misdirected decisions have been taken by the government as a reaction to the current crisis.

Riot police look on during a demonstration against the new ‘bond notes’ that came into circulation in an attempt to ease chronic cash shortages, in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

The People’s Democratic Party restates that an economy cannot be run through coercion, capture and fear.

Police in Zimbabwe brutalised demonstrators in the capital on Friday, one of the activists suffered a broken arm during this attack. The use of force is illegal it must be investigated and culprits must be brought to book.

The right to demonstrate and petition is enshrined in section 59 of the constitution however ZANUPF has never appreciated the exercise of this right; this has resulted in violent clashes between the police and protestors each time citizens take to the street.

These violent clashes have resulted in disturbances in the city and a temptation by others to loot in the name of the protestors.

Police officers have been at the centre of violence for a long time, they clash with vendors, commuters’ among other groups. Lives have also been lost when police officers threw spikes on moving vehicles.

Daily News journalist Mugove Tafirenyika was brutalised on Friday the 29th of September 2017, we find this despicable and unacceptable. The police service must serve to protect the citizen.

When the police become a political vigilante, it falls from the highest rung of respect and the citizen starts to treat officers with the contempt they deserve. This is the highest order of a broken social contract, it is a concern.

President Mugabe on return from his shopping trip in New York was also quick to react and enact a statutory instrument with a purported view to bar forex street dealing.

We said it last week that ZANUPF takes no responsibility for the failure; they shift the blame on poor people trying to irk a living.

The amounts of money circulating at 4th street are insignificant, even if the state was to forfeit all the money and deposit in bank accounts the liquidity crisis would still continue unabated.

Fundamentally, the presence of a currency black market is just but a manifestation of a financial sector in crisis, weeding out the dealers is synonymous to killing flies instead of curing the wound.

More importantly the People’s Democratic Party and many other players mentioned before that exchange rates cannot be controlled by coercive legal instruments.

When the bond note was introduced we stated that the cookie would crumble, the market will determine the value of the fake money or lack of it.

ZANUPF has a demon of defiance, in their wisdom they went on to enact a law which set the exchange rate at a ratio of 1:1 with the United States Dollar. The results are now there for everyone to see.

The bond note has tumbled against the dollar, distortions have been created in the market, inflation is shooting up and fuel shortages have crippled the country.

We argued then as we do now that a currency is a reflection of the social contract or its absence thereof. An abused citizen rejects the authority of the state; the currency becomes an immediate casualty.

ZANUPF must learn that from its own mistakes, other coercive instruments like S164 of 2016 have not worked.

We have always mentioned the importance of rebuilding the social contract, and the creation of a highly consulting state.

That is the route a proper government ought to take, the economics of statutory instruments and button sticks will not work.

Jacob Mafume, PDP Spokesperson