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Governor Gono: Colossus no more

Gono’s stature has been on the decline since the formation of the inclusive government two years ago, but it is the leaked US diplomatic cables that could have hammered the final nail in the coffin of Gono’s high profile and adventurous tenure as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) boss.

Since his appointment to the powerful post in 2003, Gono literally ran the country, presiding over the central bank in an unorthodox manner, involving the bank in quasi-fiscal activities and dabbling in politics, yet President Robert Mugabe stood by his man.

The central banker was even tipped to succeed Mugabe, while others described him as the de facto prime minister.

He always had a huge entourage and a hoard of journalists followed his every step, as his self importance grew.

Gono’s monetary policy presentations became the equivalent of state functions and it was almost treasonous for government ministers and politicians not to attend.

In the process, Gono became the most prominent central banker the country had ever had.

He doled out cash, kept the money printing presses running, he was involved in food and agricultural inputs distribution, thereby building his profile.
But on the flipside, he presided over record hyperinflation figures, in essence meaning he had failed the job he was actually hired to do.
The job of a central bank governor is to keep inflation figures at a bare minimum, but Gono seemed more interested in other things. Still Mugabe did not see this as reason to fire him but instead showed more faith in him.

At the creation of the inclusive government, the MDC formations bayed for Gono’s blood, they wanted him fired on the spot, but Mugabe stood by his man, a decision he may yet regret.

 

While the president was shielding Gono from any manoeuvres to oust him, the crafty central banker may have been actually plotting to have Mugabe removed from power, leaked US cables have revealed.

Gono, believed to be Mugabe’s personal banker, was very active in meeting US embassy officials, discussing and plotting to have the veteran leader vacate his post.

In an attack on Gono and probably signifying Zanu PF’s sense of betrayal, politburo member Jonathan Moyo said the central banker’s actions and his dealings with the Americans were unacceptable.

“The RBZ was on autopilot and accountable to nobody, they were involved in monetary, fiscal issues and political issues, things they shouldn’t ordinarily be involved in,” Moyo, a politburo member, recently told a meeting.

“While everyone else was involved on the political front, they were busy engaging in endless discussions with the Americans and that is very unacceptable.”

Revelations by the whistleblower website allege that among other things, Gono discussed with US embassy officials Mugabe’s failing health.
He would discuss government policy with the Americans even before announcing it to the public.

Moyo claims that the attack on Mugabe was three pronged with one of the phases being the destruction of the economy in which Gono was a major player.

“Then we had an RBZ governor who said economic collapse was a precursor to real change, whatever that meant,” he said.

As if to underline his diminishing stature, Gono’s public appearances are now few and far between.

At a recent function, the Ecocash launch, Gono was hardly noticeable, his entry went largely unnoticed and he literally sneaked out of the function, as if into oblivion.

He has issued statements denying that he met the American ambassadors even though cables implicating him keep mounting.

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