The Police Protection Unit has withdrawn its officers who were guarding Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono’s residence, The Standard was told yesterday.
REPORT BY NDAMU SANDU
Sources said the officers, who were providing 24-hour security at Gono’s mansion in Borrowdale, were withdrawn in March when the central bank boss was away on business and repeated efforts to have them reinstated drew blanks.
However, the sources said, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives have remained in protection of the embattled Gono who is in his final second term at the helm of the central bank ending November 30.
The withdrawal of the officers comes at a time when the central banker had been accused of having spirited away gold coins from the bank by Amai Jukwa, a faceless character on the social networking site, Facebook.
Amai Jukwa has been critical of Gono, accusing him of deploying the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board over the way it had handled indigenisation transactions.
Close sources from the bank told The Standard yesterday that when Gono came back from an Afreximbank meeting in Egypt, he discovered that the officers had left their posts and further inquiries yielded no positive results.
An RBZ board member said Gono had briefed the board about the development.
“The governor briefed us on this development which surprised us all because it is unprecedented. Even in South Africa and the region, central bank governors are enjoying police protection at their residences,” he said.
It is understood that Gono reported the matter to President Robert Mugabe and Finance minister, Tendai Biti.
The two are said to have told Gono that they were powerless to do anything, raising further questions on who really had the final say on the matter.
Gono told The Standard one must find “permanent and unbreakable refuge, security and protection in God not from man”.
“If you haven’t done so [seeking permanent peace and security] from God, do so now,” Gono said.
He said matters of the State, security and statecraft were complicated, adding that it was not a right for one to have individualised police protection.
“We are 13 million people. Put your faith in God and you won’t have sleepless nights,” he said.
Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba said Mugabe does not deploy police officers.
“The fact that he [Gono] complains to the President does not deal with the matter at hand. It’s a matter for the Police Commissioner General [Augustine Chihuri],” he said.
No comment could be obtained from the police, as spokespersons Charity Charamba and Andrew Phiri’s numbers were unavailable.
Gono has been in the eye of the storm for his criticism of certain government policies, especially his opposition to the seizure of foreign-owned banks under the guise of indigenisation — the bedrock of Zanu PF’s campaign.
He criticised the manner in which Zimplats, Unki and Mimosa deals had been undertaken saying he had not been consulted.
This drew the ire of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere and Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo, who launched scathing attacks on Gono.
The RBZ boss’s erstwhile allies in Zanu PF have also deserted him. He has however, found support in President Mugabe who recently said the mining indigenisation deals had not been properly handled.