Currency crisis costs Masarira presidential candidacy

Presidential aspirant Linda Masarira of Lead yesterday failed to successfully complete the nomination process due to bank transaction limits.

The nomination fee for presidential election candidates is pegged at US$20,000 or local currency equivalent using the official conversion rate.

As of yesterday, the local currency nomination fee was ZW$ 138 527 000 while banks average their limits for Zipit transfers at ZW$ 2 500 000 per month.

Masarira is the only female candidate who had managed to raise the huge presidential nomination fee as other aspirants dropped out of the race citing unavailability of funds.

Masarira said she had anticipated this challenge and tried to pay her nomination fee on Saturday.

“I raised my nomination fee in local currency last week and tried to pay on Saturday but I was told I can only make the payment on the day of the Nomination Court,” she said.

“When I submitted my papers in the morning for verification I went to the accounts desk and inquired on today’s figures.

“I was told its ZW$ 138 528 000 then my money was short ZW$28m so I ran around to raise the money and by 15.15pm I had raised the remainder of the money.

“When I came back to the court my papers had been accepted I was given a note to make a payment and I went back to the accounts and highlighted to the challenges that I was facing in terms of payment and that I could do an RTGS transfer and come with the receipt tomorrow.

“They said I cannot come with the proof of payment tomorrow morning because they wanted proof of payment and the money to have reflected in their account today by midnight”.

Stringent transactional limits for instant payments such as Zipit and swipe whose limit is ZW$1 500 000 are part of the government’s mechanism to arrest the exchange rate.

Instant transfers are usually used to change money on black-market whose exchange rate is believed to set the pace for official exchange rate.

RTGS transfers are cleared by the bank and can at times take over 24 hours to reflect in the receiving account.

Masarira said she had a long argument with the presiding officer over.

“We had a lot of exchanges with the presiding officer because when she was filling in my form she wrote failure to pay and I wanted her to write on the dotted lines that the money could not be transferred because its too much but she argued that she is also an officer and she could just tick on the failure to pay box”, she said.

Masarira said she will file an urgent application at the High Court.

“It was a mammoth task to transact in your own currency in Zimbabwe which is a sad story for my country but I’m going to take this matter forward.

“I will do an urgent High Court application demanding justice and demanding the right to pay since my papers had already been accepted by the Nomination Court,” she said.