Zimbabwe: Joice Mujuru takes Mugabe to court… again

Former Zimbabwean vice president Joice Mujuru has once again taken her ex-boss President Robert Mugabe to court, as she revived her bid to have the country’s surrogate currency declared illegal.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced bond notes equivalent to the United States dollar on November 28 in an attempt to ease cash shortages affecting the country’s financial services sector.

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court on Thursday wrote to Mujuru’s lawyers advising the former vice president to file her heads of argument within 10 days in a matter in which she challenged the legality of the presidential decree providing a legal framework for the introduction of the bond notes as legal tender.

Mujuru cited Mugabe, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, central bank governor John Mangudya and the country’s attorney general as respondents. The respondents also have 10 days to respond to the applicant’s heads of argument, meaning the matter could be heard in February 2017 at the earliest.

This becomes Mujuru’s second attempt at the Constitutional Court to have the surrogate currency declared illegal after she initially opposed the introduction of the bond notes in September.

Necessary economic framework

At the time, the Constitutional Court dismissed the application saying that Mujuru had “prematurely” approached the court. The court’s nine-member bench found that the bond notes should be introduced after supporting legislation was promulgated and it was not clear then what law the government was going to use to introduce them.

Mugabe then used his presidential powers, allowing the central bank to go ahead with its plans to introduce the surrogate currency.

Mujuru’s spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire told News24 that the matter would soon be set down for hearing.

“Fundamentally, the argument is that bond notes are not legal tender in Zimbabwe because the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act provides that there are only two forms of legal tender in Zimbabwe which are the Zimbabwean dollar and multi-currencies that include the United States dollar, the South African Rand and the Chinese Yen among others. The bond note is neither a Zimbabwean dollar nor any foreign currency, so for that reason you cannot purport to use the bond note as legal tender instead of the US dollar,” said Mawarire.

Mawarire accused the government of trying to bring the Zimbabwean currency through the back door and challenged authorities to create the necessary economic framework allowing for the re-introduction of the Zimbabwean dollar.

Mangudya was not immediately available for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.


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