HARARE – For a man who rose to be a parliamentarian on the back of limited education, bizarre antics, outspokenness and humour, it is difficult to discern when he is actually being serious.
The people of Buhera South who Joseph Chinotimba represents will hope Wednesday’s National Assembly question and answer session was one of those moments.
While legislators were debating the merits and demerits of introducing bond notes and ultimate effects on an collapsing economy, the former municipal police officer had a strange call.
“Is it possible for him (Reserve Bank governor John Magundya) to coin the bond notes so that we have $1, $5 or $10 bond coins because we have noticed that the people are not interested in bond notes but they would rather have bond coins,” Chinotimba said to interjections from other members of Parliament who questioned his reasoning.
According to Chinotimba this would satisfy skeptics who want to reverse the introduction of bond notes which have ignited panic withdrawals.
“So, if we could have bond coins in various denominations, people will be very happy,” Chinotimba added.
“The minister of Finance…and the Reserve Bank governor should be looking at making $20, $50 and $100 bond coins and people will be very happy because they will have been given the monies they want, bond coins not bond notes.”
The MP who kissed his way to become record holder of The Longest Kiss in Zimbabwe was turned down by the Speaker of the House.
He later rose again, this time, on a point of order.
“Mr. Speaker, my point of order is I asked a relevant question to the minister of Finance and Economic Development, but I am now surprised as my question was not answered, but you are following the guidance from the opposition who have told you that my question is irrelevant,” he said.
Notwithstanding, business of the House continued with everyone ignoring Chinotimba.
But he was not ready to let go without a fight.
“My question was not responded to,” Chinotimba said.
“My question to … Chinamasa, is we have realised that people are not interested in the unveiling of the bond notes but they would rather have bond coins in different denominations, from $1 up to $100. This is what they want. We have people planning protest marches against bond notes, so please give them bond coins.”
Realising there was no avoiding Chinotimba’s rant, Chinamasa calmly responded.
“I am very grateful to the question raised by … Chinotimba…but I beg to differ from his opinion that people do not like bond notes,” Chinamasa said.
“My feeling is that people need an explanation on the use of bond notes as opposed to bond coins. We have bankers and retail associations who have said they welcome the bond notes and this shows that the bond notes are a favourite.”
Chinamasa said those opposed to the introduction of bond notes were merely “small fish”.
“The problem is, we have some small fish that are not well versed in financial issues who are rejecting these bond notes. This is not their problem; it is because they deal in small finances,” Chinamasa said.
“The question is, is it possible for us to have different denominations of bond coins, from $1 to a $100 coin… Chinotimba, this is a problem because if you have these coins you will need some form of transport to go and buy bigger items because of the weight of the coins.”