Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the Southern African country cannot grow its economy on the basis of a foreign currency which it does not have control over.
He made the remarks of Saturday while addressing dozens of ZANU PF supporters at a rally held in Epworth to launch the party’s campaign for the March 26 by-elections. Mnangagwa said:
We know that there is no country that prospers without their own currency. We are on that path. We are supporting our own currency which will help to grow our economy. We cannot grow our economy on the basis of a currency which we have no control upon. So that’s where we are going.
His remarks come as government workers including teachers are demanding the restoration of their 2018 salaries that were United States Dollar-denominated.
Some teachers have refused to report for duty since the resumption of schools on the 7th of this month saying they are incapacitated. They are demanding US$540 which they were being paid in 2018.
Reacting to Mnangagwa’s speech, Robson Chere of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) said the president is clearly “carefree and indifferent on the plight of teachers.” Added Chere:
We will resist any attempts by any means necessary, even by the highest office, from stopping us to demand a living wage. We will continue mobilizing teachers get the USD so that teachers can actively participate in this economy.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Secretary-General, Raymond Majongwe echoed Chere’s remarks adding that while the government was choosing not to pay teachers in U.S. dollars, the government is charging in U.S. for every service it is providing.
Zimbabwe was using a multi-currency regime from 2009 until 2019 when the Zimbabwe dollar was reintroduced and declared the sole legal tender, for some time. The local currency has steadily lost value, effectively reducing workers’ wages.
Prosper Chitambara, a senior researcher and economist at the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe says high inflation is the reason why teachers are not interested in the local currency.
More: VOA News