by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – A TRADE union and a pensioners’ rights lobby organisation have lodged a legal challenge against the Zimbabwean government’s unilateral decision to withhold publication of inflation figures
The National Social Security Authority Workers Union (NSSAWU) and Zimbabwe Pension and Insurance Rights Trust (ZPIRT) have approached the High Court in the ancient town of Masvingo with the challenge against Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube.
Ncube in August 2019 announced the ban in publication of annualised inflation figures to February 2020 and indicated that the National Statistical Agency would only publish month on month inflation figures.
In court, Tendai Biti of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who represented NSSAWU and ZPIRT argued that Ncube’s decision is irrational, unreasonable, illegal, illegitimate and violates the principle of good governance and transparency provided for in the Constitution.
In response to the challenge, Ncube, who was represented by Kenias Chimiti from the Attorney General’s Office, defended his decision to impose a moratorium on the publication of annual inflation figures as justified following the change in currency regimes in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has reverted to the local dollar after over a decade using foreign currency.
When Ncube took over as Finance and Economic Development Minister in September 2018, Zimbabwe’s annualised inflation stood at 3 percent.
In July 2019, when government last published annualized inflation figures, the rate had risen to 175 percent.
Record hyperinflation in 2008 led to the country phasing out its currency.
Economic problems have returned to haunt Zimbabwe’s economy, raising the population’s ire against the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
– CAJ News