- Southern Africa
All hell breaks loose as central bank confirms old coins as valid legal tender
Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Gideon Gono’s shock anouncement Wednesday that the long discarded set of coins are still legal tender has triggered dramatic excitement with people scampering all over the place hunting for their long-lost coins in houses, offices and even fountains.
Gono, told the nation that the $5, $2, $1, 50c, 20c and 10c coins have been revalued to their face value with effect from today.
When it slowly dawned on people that the coins they discarded a long time ago had suddenly gained a huge measure of buying power, everyone embarked on a treasure hunt.
There was animated talk on the streets as members of the public debated whether Gono really meant what he said about the old coins.
People, in designer suits jostled with street kids at various public fountains in Harare soon after the pronouncement.
Coins worth thousands of dollars that had been tossed into the fountain over the years by superstitious people who believe that doing so brings good luck where retrieved.
This morning, people carrying sacks full of coins were a familiar sight.
One department shop had to temporarily close as a huge influx of people, throng to buy whatever was available.
Locals have welcomed the decision by the RBZ to re-introduce the coins, saying it had brought dignity to Zimbabwe’s currency.
“The coins are okay, but what we need is for the Government to peg salaries and prices at a certain level and then freeze both the salaries and prizes so that the coins remain valuable for a long time, said Monica Chirowa.
She claimed that her brother had about six kilogrammes of coins, mostly in $5, $2 and $1 denominations.
An excited Gift Muka said he had a 20-litre bucket full of coins.
“For me it’s a good decision because I have the coins. I have a 20-litre bucket full of coins so I am extremely happy,” he said.
Another group of people who have benefited immensely from Gono’s move are the blind beggars.
People offloaded the coins on them in frustration after he coins lost their purchasing power.
Arnold Dzingai, a blind beggar said “God works in mysterious ways. I have been keeping the coins at home and the very people who where throwing them at me are now demanding them back”
But the problem is, he does not know who gave him so many coins.