Everybody who lives in Zimbabwe’s many urban suburbs knows that rent is payable only in USD. That’s something that happened back in 2019. Very few landlords will accept Zimbabwean dollars at current black market rates. Most landlords just prefer you hand them their rent in USD and will not accept anything else. It sounds though like the government this just hearing this for the first time.

Zimbabwe’s Prosecutor General, Kumbirai Hodzi, recently warned landlords and property holders to stop charging rentals exclusively in USD. He said those who did so would be arrested and face prosecution. I can tell you that his statements will fall on deaf ears and landlords will probably not be losing any sleep over these statements.

Why? Well, this is not the first time we have heard these kinds of threats and no one has followed through. Besides that, the government has issued so many threats against various businesses and stakeholders if they arrest all offenders the courts would be swamped. They are failing to deal with corruption at the highest levels, they will most certainly do not have the time or resources to go after landlords, businesses, illegal business operators, touts, vendors and all those people whose bona fide economic activities they have outlawed with a stroke of a pen.

That is economic sabotage. It is a violation of the law. The local currency is legal tender and people must accept it in transactions.

It is illegal to charge rent strictly in foreign currency and the law will take its course. No Government will allow such lawlessness.

The perpetrators must be warned that action will be taken against them. It’s now a rampant problem that is abusive in nature.

Most of the tenants were not reporting their landlords because they don’t want to cause friction.

They are forced to pay under duress but we will come with a legal regime that will bring the lawlessness to an end.

Landlords are trying to force dollarisation through the backdoor. It is causing untold suffering to the tenants because most people are being paid in local currency.

They were taking advantage of the fact that there was no enforcement in the past. Now the prosecution, the police and the courts will enforce the law and deal with the culprits. We will apply the law and effectively prosecute the culprits.

PG Hodzi on the issue

Again thanks to a deluge of harsh laws the government, police and courts have left themselves with so many things to do it’s very doubtful they will follow through with this and everyone knows this. The best they can hope for is to arrest a few unfortunate landlords who will be hauled before the courts and paraded in front of the media. Next week they will be chasing someone else. Illegal forex dealers perhaps? Or maybe teachers doing extra lessons. In the end, it will not matter much. Landlords will continue to demand USD and tenants will have no choice but to pay in USD.

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