A group of angry clients Tuesday besieged the Metropolitan Bank in Mutare protesting the finance house’s failure to meet its obligations, including dispensing cash.
The protesters vowed to stay put until the bank gave them their money, forcing Branch Manager Ephraim Manjengwa to call the police to escort him out of the building.
Manjengwa was whisked away from his office when the angry protesters threatened to camp at the bank. Clients who have been unable to access their deposits in the bank were baying for Manjengwa’s blood. The bank manager is currently holed up at the Mutare Central Police Station for his safety.
Close to two dozen agitated MetBank clients say they are tired of failing to access their money at the bank. They allege all they have been given by authorities are excuses as to why they can’t get their money.
Den Mazendame is one of the affected clients, who said his business is under threat of collapse owing to shortages of cash.
Mazendame said he is now even failing to pay for his family’s day to day upkeep. ‘My brother’s son was in hospital and suffering from hernia and was admitted there. I pleaded for the withdrawal of money at the bank but they refused. He died yet I had some money at the bank. This is unfair.”
The depositors, who at the end of the day were camping at the central police station in the city were calm, but visibly angry as police details kept a close watch.
Another depositor with the troubled bank, Samson Matika, said many people in his position may be evicted by landlords for failing to pay rent.
Matika accused the police of protecting the bank manager without pushing him for real answers regarding the clients’ money.
“We do not know whether the bank manager is still in the police camp. We came here with an intention of opening a docket and all these people have complaints against the bank. We have many people who are at risk of being thrown out of lodgings for none payment of rent,” he said.
Another local resident, Ephraim Mudhara, said bank officials are giving them lame excuses as to why they cannot access their money.
He said they have been trying for the past two months to withdraw cash from the bank.
“We now have two months without accessing our monies. We are given a bit of cash each time we want to make a withdrawal. The automated teller machines are not disbursing any money and points of cash centres in grocery shops are refusing to take out cards,” said Mudhara.
Bank manager Manjengwa refused to comment, referring all question to his superiors in Harare.
But a bank official at the institution, who spoke on condition he was not named, said the bank is grappling with serious financial challenges being worsened by the current liquidity crunch affecting the whole country.