The beggars’ universal cry is “spare any change”, but in Zimbabwe they can be choosers on the issue.
At a traffic light in the capital Harare, a Reuters correspondent gave an insistent beggar a handful of bond coins, which provoked a burst of laughter and a “no thanks” before he scrambled to the next car.
Shouting matches erupt on the streets when the touts who ride with taxi drivers and dispense change to passengers try to pass off the bond coins to them.
“We have people who just refuse the coins because they say they will not be able to use them. They prefer the rand coins (of South Africa),” said Lyn Kahari, a shop assistant at a grocer in a Harare suburb.
Reserve Bank Governor Mangudya told the state-owned Herald newspaper last week that only $2.5 million worth of coins were in circulation out of the $10 million that had been imported. He said the low uptake of the coins was a result of commercial banks not making larger orders from the central bank.
The scepticism is rooted in the memories Zimbabweans have of
hyperinflation, which reached 500 billion percent with prices changing more than twice a day before the government of President Robert Mugabe abandoned a currency that had been rendered worthless.Reuters