Vice President Constantino Chiwenga Wednesday issued a chilling threat against Zimbabwean corporates that have sustained operations through buying scarce forex on the illegal but thriving black market.
He was addressing a business conference at the ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo where he described illegal foreign currency dealers as "financial terrorists" and vowed tough government action against the culprits.
"We would want to make this warning today. We already know who are doing this exercise.
"If one tries to fight and practise financial terrorism in Zimbabwe, we will react appropriately and no one should cry that he has not been treated fairly," said the former military boss.
Chiwenga said illegal money dealers among individuals and corporates were throwing spanners in the wake of government's efforts to revive the national economy.
The once feared top soldier said this as most locals have shunned government's inter-bank foreign currency market whose rates remain lower than those offered on the street.
Chiwenga claimed that government has honoured business demands but efforts to revive the economy were being derailed by economic saboteurs.
He also threatened to take action against those externalising funds.
"Those who have been externalising funds, all I can say is if you are a Zimbabwean, return that money quickly back so that we can treat you with some kid gloves but if you want hard gloves, we know how to do it," he said.
He added, "The rising inflation which we are now experiencing hurts the whole economy and its development prospects is negatively affecting all of us.
"Is it not time we engage and honestly discuss why as a nation we continue to experience foreign currency shortages yet our foreign currency earning exceeds those of our competitors who are not experiencing the same phenomenon."
While Chiwenga has issued threats against those who externalise foreign currency, government is yet to act on a list of corporates and Zanu PF linked individuals whose names were published last year as among those involved in the rot.