RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono this week condemned fresh farm invasions and violence orchestrated by war veterans and Zanu PF militia ahead of a looming presidential election run-off.
This came amid allegations by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC that Gono was working with a group of senior security officers and government officials to â€œunleash a wave of violenceâ€ ahead of the run-off.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is yet to announce the results of the presidential election, with Zanu PF reportedly gunning for either a run-off or a re-run of the poll.
The MDC has already claimed victory for Tsvangirai with 54% of the vote against Mugabeâ€™s reported 42%.
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesperson, this week claimed that Gono was secretly working with Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and President Robert Mugabeâ€™s press secretary George Charamba to allow war veterans and Zanu PF activists to run riot before the election.
This, the party alleged, was designed to ensure Mugabe wins the run-off or re-run after his embarrassing defeat by Tsvangirai in the March 29 election.
Chiwenga, Chihuri and Charamba have not yet reacted to the MDCâ€™s remarks.
But Gono yesterday scoffed at the allegations.
â€œThe one in the forefront is to blame whenever anything goes wrong and this governor is no stranger to this phenomenon,â€ Gono said. â€œIf anyone goes on to commit a crime â€” invade a farm or commit violence and it is ascertained that he or she has a few bearer cheques in his or her pockets bearing the governorâ€™s signature â€” that is evidence enough the governor has sponsored that crime.â€
He denied bankrolling the police to buy any â€œequipment or instruments of repressionâ€. He said the funds given out were to pay for items such as the Criminal Investigations Departmentâ€™s forensic science laboratory equipment.
Gono said he also financed the policeâ€™s procurement of uniforms for the Signals Corps, refurbishment of 260 Defender vehicles, drilling of 10 boreholes at Chikurubi Camp and purchase of generators.
Addressing a Security Mills (Pvt) Ltd business function in Bulawayo on Wednesday, the central bank governor slammed the latest farm invasions and the resurgence of political violence. Gono said the fresh farm invasions would further undermine the already bleeding economy if not stopped.
The police this week claimed they had evicted the new farm invaders.
â€œWe note with concern the seeming re-emergence of disturbances on the farms between resettled new and old farm owners,â€ Gono said. â€œSuch friction, if indeed it is re-emerging, does not augur well for a country that has been hailed as exemplary in terms of peace and stability in the just-ended harmonised elections.â€
The Commercial Farmers Union this week claimed that more than 60 farmers had been driven off their land since the fresh farm invasions began.
â€œWeâ€™ve got over 60 farmers who have been evicted,â€ CFU president Trevor Gifford said. â€œThey have been chased away and left everything behind.â€
Gifford himself became a victim of the land invasions this week when a mob wearing Zanu PF T-shirts surrounded his farm in Chipinge and left messages warning him not to return.
By Loughty Dube