The MDC Alliance launched its election manifesto in Harare on Thursday‚ vowing to deal with Zanu-PF’s “economic mischief”‚ should its candidate‚ Nelson Chamisa‚ romp to victory.
Presenting the party’s Sustainable and Modern Agenda for Real Transformation (SMART) document‚ finance minister from the inclusive government of 2009-13 Tendai Biti said they would seek to join the Rand Monetary Union as a stopgap measure to address the country’s economic woes.
Currently the rand is being used under a basket of currencies but pricing of goods and services is in US dollars.
“We seek to strengthen the multi-currency regime while we work towards joining the rand union and scrapping the bond notes totally‚” said Biti.
Under Robert Mugabe‚ the government went against advice from the business community to join the rand union‚ fearing losing control of the country’s monetary policy and partly because‚ at the time‚ Zimbabwe did not have a currency of its own‚ having parked the Zimbabwean dollar in 2008 after record hyper inflation.
The move to adopt the rand also has backing from some within Zanu-PF. Last month deputy finance minister Terence Mukupe told journalists that part of Zimbabwe’s turnaround should involve adopting the rand as a base currency.
“It’s a good thing to join the Rand Monetary Union as a temporary measure‚ the same way we adopted the bond notes to stabilise the economy. It means that as a country you now have access to deeper financial markets in South Africa such as bond markets which we don’t have here‚” said Mukupe.
For the MDC Alliance‚ a quick fix to the economy is top priority. In its manifesto the party claims the economy will grow to $100-billion by 2029. By the end of Chamisa’s first term in 2023‚ gross domestic product [GDP] could be $46-billion.
Although less glamorous than the Zanu-PF manifesto launch last month‚ the MDC Alliance manifesto was screened live by state broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation [ZBC]‚ much to the shock of many.
Appearing for the first time on national television addressing a rally‚ Nelson Chamisa said he sought to send President Emmerson Mnangagwa into retirement because he was not good for the country.
“I represent that new‚ that brand new. The best change is speaking to you now‚” he said.
Meanwhile‚ with both Zanu-PF and the MDC Alliance armed with their manifestos‚ the parties will on Friday address rallies in Masvingo‚ but about 40 kilometres apart.