ALL your readers should look forward to a captivating headline likely to appear in all newspapers running as follows: “Mesmerising ZABG circus — coming soon to a bank near you.”
For, apart from two directors, what else can you call the motley band of management failures and sycophantic clowns that have been appointed by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono and his side-kicks to run the ill-conceived, octopus-structured, top-heavy Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG)?
It’s important to let you know that being an RBZ employee myself and, above all, a professional at heart, I have been watching closely the sad developments with disgust and anguish.
I have found it necessary to share with you the inside information I have so that you can judge for yourself whether or not the governor practises what he preaches about good corporate governance, transparency and blaah, blaah.
Contrary to the much-talked-about “management board of turnaround and integration experts” promised by Gono in his Troubled Bank Resolution Framework of October 2004, what has been put together is instead a management circus that would make Jojo the Clown really green with envy.
The ZABG board of directors and management team are made up of mediocre, even redundant, managers whose names will not ignite even an iota of hope at Mbare vegetable market let alone the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
Some are coming from recently failed financial institutions where they held top positions and were undoubtedly responsible for that collapse.
Some were, early last year, thrust into troubled banks to turn them around but only succeeded in running them further aground.
Others have been out of the financial sector for years — having left under dubious circumstances — while the remainder are still actively employed but are at the plateau of their careers, not because they are old but had become professionally, academically and strategically bankrupt of ideas.
To be honest, none of them is or has been a banker or business executive of note. The only things they are “well known” for are high-sounding empty talk, arrogance, vindictiveness and old-fashioned autocratic management styles.
I really feel sorry for the competent, resilient junior staff that has held fort at some of the banks joining ZABG as they are going to have a torrid time working with these glorified foremen who will try to disguise their own incompetence by blaming any shortfalls on junior executives.
The common denominator though among these pretenders is that they have either worked with Gono in the past or worked with someone who is close to the governor or are themselves known to be close to him. The “network of friends” is easy to identify for anyone who is in the banking industry.
Another factor is that some of them are simply being rewarded for having been whistleblowers in their former organisations. I wish to point out that the issue of whistleblowers being rewarded with jobs is also very prevalent at the RBZ. Some cranky poor performers who used to make “Nicodemus visits” to the governor late in 2003 and up to mid-2004 are now nestled in powerful, high-paying positions at the central bank. Those of us at RBZ are aware of such characters uplifted from Trust Bank, Barbican, SMM and NDH, among others.
It is evident that Gono does not want anyone challenging him academically or professionally in these positions; instead he prefers pliant, spineless yes-men who will pander to his whims and kiss the ground he walks on. But at what cost to the financial sector, indigenisation and the economy at large?
I understand a lot of amadoda sibili (real men) turned down the governor’s invitation to join “ZiBAG” upon getting wind of the nonentities they would be working with. So much for good corporate governance, transparency and professionalism.
Meanwhile, beloved readers don’t hold your breath — you can go about your business as usual waiting for this hilarious, free but daft circus to hit town.