Way back in 2008 when Zimbabwe was hit by hyperinflation and when everyone became a millionaire, the government resorted to frequently introducing new notes.
They hoped this would contain the runaway inflation and ‘kill’ the foreign currency black market, but alas it never worked.
Fast forward to 2019, we seem to be back in those times.
Barely six months after renaming the local currency from bond to RTGS, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced that the government will soon introduce a new currency.
This follows the massive loss of value of the local currency against major currencies, which in turn has resulted in prices of goods and services shooting up.
Justifying the idea of a new currency, Mnangagwa was quoted in the local press saying, “You go to sleep with the rate at one US dollar to five… and the next morning it’s one to six, one to seven, one to eight and so forth. And when they do that, the price of bread increases according to the exchange rate.”
So bad is the situation in the country there are fears of mass protests that could eventually lead to anarchy.
Seemingly clueless about how to curb the situation, the Mnangangwa-led government now thinks introducing a new currency is the panacea. However, judging from the past, this might not solve our problems.
One would also hope the President would learn from the past, that this kind of approach never works. But no, he instead thinks a miracle would happen.
Economists have already castigated the move, saying the new currency will also be doomed in no time since there haven’t been any positive changes in the economic and political climate.
The only logical thing to do under these circumstances, as most people have said, is to engage major political parties to dialogue and find the best way forward.
It is a fact that things started taking a turn for the worst after the July 2018 disputed presidential elections and it is a fact the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is the main opposition party in Zimbabwe.
It therefore does not make sense for Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party to engage small, insignificant opposition parties and leave out the main opposition.
The President should put aside his ego and accept that the MDC-Alliance has the second highest number of seats in Parliament and thus sit down for a talk with its leader, Nelson Chamisa.
The two men need to find each other for the sake of ordinary men and women who are bearing the brunt of the harsh economic situation.
We know from the past that when former president Robert Mugabe engaged the later opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and formed a government of national unity, the economy made a quick turnaround.
Some people have even labeled the years of national unity, the best years ever in Zimbabwe as the economy was stable.
It is for this reason that many people and organisations, including the civic society and churches are pushing and hoping that Mnangagwa and Chamisa put aside their differences, talk and agree on something for the good of the country.