Reports by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) say that lots of retailers have already been arrested for refusing bond notes and coins. A few weeks ago most members of the informal sector followed by the wider public started rejecting all bond notes and coins effectively demonetising them. The RBZ was not amused by such moves and published an emphatic statement reiterating that these notes and coins were still legal tender.

It is a message that has failed to resonate with the economy which is still rejecting them. This has resulted in the government roping in the ZRP to try and compel retailers to accept the fast depreciating local unit that no one seems to want anymore.

Traders and business entities who continue to refuse to accept Zimbabwe currency bond notes and coins as a legal tender in business transactions risk being arrested and taken to court for the law to take its course.

A total of 102 suspects have been arrested with 28 appearing in court in Harare.

ZRP statement on the issue

While some retailers reject bond notes and coins but accept Zimbabwean dollar notes, others are only accepting USD citing how impossible it now is to restock. Most manufacturers including ZFC now only accept USD making it hard on retailers who do not have access to USD.

Will the government win?

Evidence from the past shows mixed results when it comes to forcing people to accept money. In 2008 and as recently as this year, the wider public successfully rejected certain currencies including coins and the old Zimbabwean dollar. Through cunning and false reassurances the government was able to “force” people to accept bond notes in the first place. So the results are mixed and only time will tell whether these operations will succeed or not.