Former Foreign Affairs Minister Walter Mzembi has claimed that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, and then Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa undermined his proposal for Zimbabwe to join the Rand Monetary Union (RMU) in 2015, which he believes could have stabilised the economy.
The Rand Union, formally referred to as the Common Monetary Area (CMA), is a monetary agreement with South Africa in which the rand is legal tender in all states, but the other member states (Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini) issue their own currencies.
Posting on Twitter, Mzembi claimed Mangudya and Chinamasa misled then President Robert Mugabe into thinking that the plan was a scheme to sell the country to Americans. Said Mzembi:
From 2015, I took it upon myself to win over Cabinet, to Zimbabwe joining Rand Monetary Union. Cabinet received my papers on this. I failed.
Later on, Mugabe told me “Chinamasa and Mangudya are saying you want to sell the country to the Americans!”
In 2017 Mugabe asked the two “Do we go with the Mzembi proposal or not, does he make sense?”.
Answer from the two “Yes Your Excellency, he makes sense but he lives well ahead of his time, we will get there eventually”. Subject closed.
End of September 2017, Mugabe discussed the option of redeployment to finance or foreign affairs.
I argued vigorously for the latter pressing that in finance I would struggle to get Cabinet support for a new economic direction – RMU. End of story!
In 2019, President Emmerson Mnangagwa abandoned the multi-currency system that had stabilised Zimbabwe’s economy between 2009 and 2019 and reintroduced the Zimbabwean dollar.
However, the local unit has been in free-fall, forcing Mnangagwa to reintroduce the multi-currency system in 2022.