by Daniel Chigundu
National Vendors Unions of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) board chairperson Sten Zvorwadza says the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development should take the blame for low turnout at the Bond Notes Bill public hearing in Harare.
About 35 people including Parliament personnel attended the meeting despite the fact that Bond Notes issues have generated a lot of interest in the country and on various social media platforms.
Government introduced the Bond Notes and coins last week under the guise of export incentives and as stop gap measure to the current cash crisis that has wrecked havoc in the country.
Introduction of Bond Notes is deemed illegal by certain quarters of society who feel the basis for their introduction is a violation of the separation of powers of the arms of government.
In an interview after the public hearing, Zvorwadza said the committee was to blame as they failed to identify the stakeholders who would have helped them draw huge crowds
“They have so many ways of drawing people to discussions like this one, I will tell for certain that there was no effort done and it is deliberate that they didn’t want a lot of people to discuss this issue, but if they are discussing power here people would have been forced to attend, so the committee is playing the advocacy role.
“The advertising of these platforms should not be done in the models that they have spoken, for example myself I represent a constituency of people, but I only got to know about this meeting this afternoon when a colleague sent me a message to say look, where are you and we are attending a bond note discussion.
“It is very disturbing that on important issues they don’t ask us but when they want to discuss their power, messages flood us. We are simply saying they should speak to significant people who can advertise to their constituencies. They should speak to Morgan Tsvangirai, Joice Mujuru and Robert Mugabe so that they bring their people here,” he said.
Committee chairperson Honourable David Chapfika told the meeting that they were not to blame for the low turnout adding that they had advertised the meetings through radio, television and print media.
The vendors’ union boss added that government should not take people for granted arguing that the 35 people who attended the public hearing cannot in any way represent the view of the more than two million thought to be in Harare.
“So clearly we want to have a system where people appreciate that the power of citizens lies in the discussing together and not a peace-meal meeting, this was very disturbing and this discussion to be honest is not a legit discussion representing Harare because 35 people cannot represent Harare,” Zvorwadza said.
President Mugabe used his Presidential Temporary Measures Act to allow for the introduction of the Bond notes into the economy; however decisions made using the Act are temporal and expire after six months.
Efforts are underway to try and amend the RBZ Act to allow introduction of the Bond Notes as a long term solution. The Bill was last week referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee to check on its constitutionality.