It’s a well known allegation that is now more than a decade old. It all started during the first “burning” era in 2008 when the first and second Zimbabwean dollars crumbled to dust. Back then a rumour started doing rounds that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe itself has runners that bought foreign currency on the black market on the Bank’s behalf.
It’s a rumour that has surfaced again in recent months as the rate went berserk going from 1 USD: 3 ZWL a year ago to the current 1USD : 70+ ZWL. Whispers have done rounds saying that the central bank has once again engaged the services of runners to mop up foreign currency on the black market.
It’s claimed some dealers openly boast about this. People have pointed to the fact that even though illegal foreign currency dealers openly engage in their trade they are rarely arrested let alone convicted despite various laws making what they do illegal.
There is also the fact that while cash shortages continue and the transacting public struggles to make withdrawals these illegal traders don’t seem to face any hurdles. Whenever a new currency is introduced, such as the latest $10 note, these traders are seen around hurling piles of this new crispy currency.
The Central Bank Denies it
The whisper is not going away
This denial is not going to do much good and a lot of members of the public will just dismiss it as a hollow PR campaign. It doesn’t help that the central bank has issued statements on things in the past that turned out to be the opposite of whatever they said. Those making these claims will probably continue to do so and people will believe them given the points made above.