By Patrick Mlambo
AFTER reading Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono’s monetary policy statement, I was left wondering whether this man knows what he is doing.
FONT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>In fact, the long and short of it is that he should resign. Gono cannot see that he cannot change things. He has no solutions to the current problems.
His resignation is the most useful decision he should make under the present circumstances. He should bite the bullet and let go the governorship.
Gono’s monetary policy review, presented last month, is nothing more than hogwash. It does not promise anything to the ordinary man. It does not say anything positive. It gives nothing to look forward to. It sends shivers down the spines of those he promised to pin down. It is full of retribution.
The ordinary man has no interest in Gono’s retribution, because he gains nothing from it. The men whom he wants to descend on are not excited either. Gono wants to name and shame those involved in corrupt activities. What will that achieve?
We witnessed this kind of retribution in the late 80s through the Sandura Commission. Maybe Gono never learnt anything — that the culprits were all pardoned except for those who had already died.
What therefore does Gono think he will achieve by this act of retribution? This is senseless as it will achieve nothing. I never expected it from the RBZ governor.
This man fails to understand his role. Can he be told that he is the RBZ governor and not a politician. He should learn to leave politics to politicians. Politicians determine fiscal policy and that should be left as their domain.
Gono’s role should be to convince the politicians and lobby them on the merits of aligning their fiscal policy with his monetary policy. It is not his duty to spell out fiscal policy. I am sure no one gave him a job description when he took over. It is not his territory.
Little wonder there are reports of certain sections of the ruling party calling for his head. Yes, they cannot leave him alone because he is growing bigger than a simple governor. He is usurping ministerial powers. He is slowly becoming a Jonathan Moyo of the previous parliament and cabinet and for that he should step down or get the boot.
As if the above is not enough, the nature of retribution Gono proposes for exporters resembles a lot of folly on his part. It shows a lack of vision.
Exporters are the source of meaningful inflows of foreign currency. More of these people are required to get Zimbabwe from where it is. It is their foreign currency that we require as a country, and not the diaspora dollar or pound.
I am not sure what their response would be, in a country without that currency, to a policy statement that promises to deal with them viciously for “wrongs” that they do. They are smarter than Gono by all means. And a crackdown on them would worsen things.
Gono can take all the exporters, all Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officers and officials and all cops to jail, but the ones who replace them will be equally corrupt if not worse. It’s not about retribution, Dr Gono. It is about a change in mindset. It is about a change in values.
It is about teaching children to grow up as good citizens. It is about teaching children in homes. It is not about teaching them “not to steal because if you are caught you will go to jail”. It is about teaching them to be “good citizens” and also that “good citizens do not steal because stealing is bad”. Gono is teaching the former and it is a pity he is teaching adults and not children.
This requires a national approach, not one of violent enforcement as is the case now.
See now he has been sucked into the Chris Kuruneri saga. Maybe it is true he in fact facilitated the transfers, in which case he might be found guilty. Any full investigation of his tenure as CBZ chief can bring out a lot more things against him.
Gono needs to give government some explanations regarding the Zimbabwe/Malaysia bilateral payment arrangement and how that money made available by government to the “productive sector” to buy stuff from Malaysia was utilised in procuring stuff from our neighbours South Africa.
In his position he is not only expected to be free from corruption, but must be seen to be free from it. The Kuruneri saga will cast a lot of doubt about him despite what the final verdict on his involvement is. It would therefore be gracious for him to step down now.
In addition, we read about Gono having sanctioned the purchase of 50 state-of-the-art cars for use by the RBZ in fighting corruption. I am told those cars are at the RBZ depot in Msasa. Imagine, 50 cars for the RBZ when the Ministry of Health is using ox-drawn ambulances in Seke.
Yes, 50 cars to enforce his retribution when people are dying en route to hospitals in ox-drawn ambulances. It beats all reason. These are cars that will be parked kwaMereki during weekends and at rural homes over holidays.
Gono is not aware of where he starts and ends. He has turned the RBZ governorship into a political post and wants to do everything and be everyone. It is a total recipe for disaster. He should leave politics to politicians and lobby them for alignment of their policies with his.
*Patrick Mlambo is a Zimbabwean writing from New Zealand.