Bill Watch 33/2019 [Monetary Policy and the Rule of Law] 4th July 2019 held. “Cash” however is defined in the Act as meaning “bank notes and coins of any currency that is … designated as legal tender in Zimbabwe”. If Zimbabwe dollars are, as the government claims, the sole legal tender in this country then bond notes and coins are the only “cash” to which the Bank Use Promotion Act can apply. The Rule of Law The statements made by the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the Police are therefore wrong. But they are not just wrong ‒ they are dangerously wrong because they may lead to serious violations of the rule of law. The rule of law is an elastic concept but fundamentally it means that people’s rights and obligations must be determined by laws rather than by individuals or groups of individuals exercising an arbitrary discretion. From this fundamental concept several principles are derived, among them the following: • No one is above the law. State officials, and even the State itself, are subject to the law and must act in accordance with the law. • Laws must be certain, i.e. clear and definite. People must be able to establish relatively easily the content of a law and the extent of their rights and duties under it. • Crimes must be clearly defined and reasonably limited in scope. People must know what they can and cannot do. The statements made by the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the Police violate these principles because: • They misstate the effect of the law, leading the public to believe that storekeepers and others are committing crimes when they are not. • They encourage the Police to arrest people for conduct which is in fact lawful. Any such arrests will be illegal and may leave the police officers concerned liable to pay heavy damages. What should be done? If the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Reserve Bank want to outlaw the use of foreign currency as a medium of exchange in Zimbabwe, then they must do it properly. That is to say: 1. They must work out precisely and in detail what they want to achieve. 2. With the aid of their legal advisers, they must establish what the existing law says on the subject. This is not as easy as it sounds, because our statute books are littered with old rules and regulations which are still legally in force even though they may have outlived their purpose. 3. They must then work out which laws need to be enacted, repealed or amended in order to achieve the new policy goals. 4. Next they must get laws drafted so as to give effect to their new policies while observing the precepts of the rule of law mentioned above. 5. And finally, the Minister must approach Parliament to enact the new laws.

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