Zimbabwe’s New Gold-backed Currency Faces Public Skepticism Amid The Crackdown.

Zimbabwe’s New Gold-backed Currency Faces Public Skepticism Amid The Crackdown.

The introduction of the world’s newest currency in April prompted a reggae artist to record a song praising the ZiG, or Zimbabwe Gold.

The catchy song, titled “Zig Mari,” received extensive airplay on state television and radio. Ras Caleb, a musician, received a car and $2,000 from a businessman with close ties to Zimbabwe’s ruling party and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who said he wanted to reward an act he considered “patriotic.”

Although money usually does not require publicity, Zimbabwe’s sixth national currency in 15 years requires all the assistance it can get.

National police spokesman Paul Nyathi said law enforcement agents have arrested more than 200 street currency dealers on allegations of flouting foreign currency exchange regulations. The government accuses them of undermining and devaluing the new currency by using exchange rates higher than the official one.

Twin brothers Tapiwa and Justice Nyamadzawo, 24, were arrested two weeks after the new currency launch after allegedly selling undercover detectives cellphone airtime worth $10 at a rate of 15 ZiGs per dollar, according to court papers. The official exchange rate was just over 13 ZiGs per dollar. Like other currency traders, the twins were denied bail and remain in pretrial detention on charges with a maximum prison term of 10 years.

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