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Biti allegations are baseless

05 Oct 2020 at 06:41hrs | Views
MDC-ALLIANCE co-vice-president Tendai Biti has on countless occasions made unsavoury and bald assertions, mainly to his gullible supporters, that "Zanu-PF may rig elections, but it cannot rig the economy". Contrary to the elections rigging narrative, Zanu-PF comprehensively won the 2018 harmonised elections through a democratic process.

In a bid to create confusion and sow divisions among Zimbabweans, MDC-Alliance president Nelson Chamisa, Biti and company continue to use the wishful pre-election projections they made at the behest of the Centre for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) — a non-governmental organisation that specialises in illegal regime change — which claimed Chamisa would garner 2,6 million votes and win the elections.

However, the actual Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) collation showed that Chamisa garnered 2 151 927 million votes compared to 2 456 010 million votes obtained by His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who won the elections.

In January 2018, Biti used his Twitter account and mainstream media to claim that Zanu-PF could rig elections, but could not rig the economy.

Biti's assertion was based on the assumption that sanctions and the MDC-A's subversive activities would cause the economy to scream.

He also assumed that Government had no solution to that evil strategy. Contrary to Biti's delusions, the economy is on an upward trajectory as a result of prudent macro-economic policies being implemented by Government, which have seen the stabilisation of prices and firming of the Zimbabwe dollar.

Irked by the prospects of a remarkable economic rebound, Biti now claims the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is rigging or manipulating the foreign exchange auction system. Those who follow developments on the forex auction system would testify that since the inception of the auction system, the Zimbabwean dollar has begun to gain against the United States dollar.

On September 22, the local currency closed the week at $81,50 and last week it firmed further, resting at $81,44, which points to currency stability. However, Biti and his ilk would rather have the local currency plummet and the economy nose-dive in line with their kudira jecha (throw sand) strategy, which seeks to soil even the noblest of Government policies and initiatives.

Biti is not an economist, he is just a lawyer and politician; therefore, his allegations make no sense to businesspeople and economists. A member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Monetary Policy Committee, Eddie Cross, has repeatedly pointed out that the forex auction system cannot be manipulated because the adjudication process is quite transparent.

"The forex auction system cannot be manipulated because of a number of control mechanisms put in place. For example, the committee's multi-stakeholder approach guards against unilateral decisions, making the whole process transparent. The system is transparent on account of the very people who oversee it." Indeed, the integrity and transparency of the auction system cannot be compromised because of the multi-stakeholder committee approach overseeing the auction process.

Committee members include Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) president Ralph Watungwa, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Henry Ruzvidzo, RBZ Monetary Policy Committee members Professor Ashok Chakravarti and Eddie Cross, and RBZ board members Kumbirai Katsande and Edwin Manikai.

Other committee members include RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya, Mr Andrew Bvume from the Office of the President and Cabinet, and Mr Clive Mpambela from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. There are also directors and representatives from the Exchange Control Departments, Financial Markets and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

Moreover, it is not possible to manipulate the bidding process because all applications go through a rigorous screening process, which start with the importer submitting an application through their bank, who is their dealer.

The bank then screens the application by assessing whether the applicant has sufficient funds in the account, verifying if applicant has not been red-flagged for any outstanding import and export acquittals, checking if applicant has not submitted more than one application, and ensuring that the applicant's requirement for funding is in compliance with the import priority list.

Therefore, the auction system is water-tight because the allotment of forex at the market is not a unilateral decision, rather the committee arrives at a weighted average after considering all qualifying bids for the week.

For example, the committee comes up with a cut-off rate below and above the weighted average. Guided by the weighted average, bids falling within the cut-off range are considered, with each individual importer being allotted foreign currency based on his application.

The committee also requires the applicant or importer to declare that they will not increase the prices of goods and will sell goods and commodities at the prevailing auction rate. However, quite observably the exchange has also been stable because of the measures instituted by the FIU to curb speculative currency trading through mobile money platforms and fungibility of shares.

Contrary to these undeniable facts, Biti rides on the "achievements" of the Inclusive Government from 2009 to 2013 to crown himself the "best-ever" Finance Minister in Zimbabwe. He conveniently "forgets" that the multicurrency system was introduced by the then Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, in January 2008, well before the Inclusive Government.

It is also clear Biti may also have a vendetta against Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, whom he views as about to spoil his chance to parade himself as saviour of a ''turbulent economy'' once again.

Biti and his MDC-A, having lobbied for illegal Western sanctions against Zimbabwe, still cling to the hope that burdened by distress, Zimbabweans would revolt and dislodge the Zanu-PF Government from power. He calculates that Chamisa would appoint him as Finance Minister of an MDC-A government, a position from which he would fulfil his messianic pipe dream.

Unfortunately for him, most economic commentators, including Steve Hanke, his hero, have acknowledged that Government is on the right path. The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) has projected that Zimbabwe's economy will be vibrant by 2022.

The electorate is sure to acknowledge this and punish those who ruined it in the first place. This may also explain MDC- A's desperation to be included in a "new government of national unity".

Those who grow political ambitions built on flimsy messianic pipe dreams shall wilt in the sunshine of Zimbabwe's economic revival.

Source - chronicle
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