Mnangagwa responds to businessman Busha

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By Mary Taruvinga

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has finally responded to Joseph Busha, the Free Zimbabwe Congress leader, who last year filed an application at the High Court challenging the introduction of the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) dollar.

The application was filed in June last year but Mnangagwa was yet to respond.

He said the delay was not wilful adding that court papers were not properly served on him.

The President deposed an affidavit through Venerandah Munyoro, a law officer in the Civil Division of the Attorney General insisting that he was never wrong in introducing the RTGS.

“The heads of argument were delayed by a month but was because there had been no proper service on the applicant,” said Munyoro.

“I submit that the applicant has a very good defence to the application and he will in all probability succeed in it.

“In particular I note that Statutory Instrument 33 of 2019 has since been incorporated in into Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Act.It also remains the applicant’s argument that the promulgation of the Statutory Instrument through the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures Act {Chapterb10 ;22} was not unconstitutional as the Act is not in violation of the principle of legality or separation of powers

Busha argues that the presidential powers used in ushering in the currency reforms are unconstitutional.

The RTGS dollar was introduced in February 2019 through the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act.

Busha wants the Statutory Instrument 33 of 2019 which was used to introduce the currency outlawed as he claims that it was inconsistent with the constitution.

He also wants the court to give an order invalidating any reference or actions based on the RTGS currency.

His application comes when the government has also introduced Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 which bans the use of all foreign currencies for domestic transactions. The SI makes the RTGS dollar and bond notes the only legal tender in the country.

Busha also argued that converting people’s bank balances from United States dollars to the electronic currency was unlawful.

The Free Zimbabwe Congress leader wants Mnangagwa to pay the costs of the suit. The South Africa-based businessman argued it was the duty of Parliament to introduce such legislation.

He said the presidential powers law gave Mnangagwa powers that are not envisaged in the Constitution.

“It gives the first respondent (Mnangagwa), the president, powers which the Constitution specifically and purposely does not give him,” he argued. “The powers of the president are set out in section 110 of the constitution and none of those powers entitle him to legislate.

“It being subsidiary to the constitution, the Act cannot validly expand the powers of the president beyond what the Constitution confines them to.