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Diaspora Resistance - Moratorium on money transfers
Phil Matibe
October 25, 2007

"Whose bread I eat, his song I sings, money talks, money is power"

Exiled Zimbabweans need to understand that, "it is often safe and painless to be brave from a distance". Let us grab the regime by the belt buckle and force it recognise the Diaspora economic might. Our actions will compel the regime to acquiesce to our demands for our right to vote, an immediate end to state sanctioned violence, the return of the rule of law and free and fair elections.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Gideon Gono, in cohorts with the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) now employs covert black-market foreign currency buyers. The sole function of the buyers is to mop up all available currency from the public and authorized dealers, utilizing the infinite amounts of freshly minted local cash provided by the RBZ. The foreign exchange is bought clandestinely at the day's prevailing black market rate (US$1: ZW$1 000 000 000.00) or (£1: ZW$2 250 000 000.00) and subsequently transported and secured in the RBZ vaults for use by the government.

ZANU (PF) and government officials then acquire the same foreign currency from the RBZ at the official rate (US$1: ZW$30 000.00). Simple arithmetic will show that when a cabinet minister requires annual college fees (US$35 000.00) for his child to attend a university in the "imperialist west", he pays the RBZ, one billion and fifty million dollars (ZW$1 050 000 000 000.00). The RBZ in contrast would have acquired the same amount of foreign currency from the parallel market for 35 billion dollars (ZW$35 000 000 000.00). Thus Diaspora funds sent by hardworking Zimbabweans living in exile with the intention of sustaining their families inadvertently become the subsidy and essential lifeline to buttress and maintain the regime.

Case in point: a Zimbabwean care worker in the United Kingdom sends £ 50.00 (pounds) home to his mother through a money transfer agent. The RBZ through the agent gives the mother ZW $112 500 000 000.00 and retains the £50.00 (pounds) for onward transmission to the government. Essentially the government is buying currency back at only a fraction of its local value. Rather than utilizing the funds for national essentials like food, electricity, fuel and medicines, the government instead spends the valuable foreign currency acquiring non productive assets e.g. luxury cars, homes and expensive foreign shopping sprees.

Uku ndiko kunonzi kudzorera marasha kuHwange!!

From November 1 to November 30, 2007, let us starve the regime of its source of foreign currency. During this period, as a protest to the continuing human rights violations, we must to use our collective Diaspora monetary strength by withholding all money transfers for that phase. It is estimated that 1 500 000 working Zimbabweans reside outside the country. On average exiles remit twenty-five dollars (US $25.00), per month to relatives back home. If we collectively protest and withhold remittances, the government fails to collect a monthly subsidy of 37 million dollars (US $37 500 000.00.), from its disenfranchised citizenry.

All Zimbabweans in exile should exercise their constitutional rights and grasp this momentous occasion for a powerful, bipartisan demonstration against the government's economic mismanagement, irrational policies, endemic corruption and blatant breach of international humanitarian law. The regime must repeal draconian laws and allow exiled Zimbabweans to vote.

Let us clutch this fortuitous moment and deprive the regime of its sustenance. The power for our own emancipation is in our wallets.

Phil Matibe can be reached on:

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