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Gono’s Tenure Could Be Shortlived

RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono’s tenure could be short-lived in the new inclusive government after it emerged that Zanu PF and MDC politicians and business leaders are pushing for his removal.

Sources said reformists in Zanu PF and the MDC wanted an end to Gono’s term in office, blaming his macro-economic policies for the deepening economic crisis.

Politicians aligned to former army general Solomon Mujuru’s camp in Zanu PF reportedly wanted Gono fired, while senior members of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC are also calling for his head.

During the inter-party talks, sources said, the MDC pushed for Gono’s removal either through sacking or by not renewing his contract at the end of his first term in office in November.

However, the sources said the MDC was reportedly told that Gono was appointed by the president in line with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act.

“They were told that Mugabe has the prerogative to remove him,” one of the sources said.

“It is going to be difficult to have Gono removed by Mugabe because of their strong ties. Mugabe may even appoint him a finance minister. What can the MDC do?”

The sources said the MDC wanted Gono to be replaced by one of his three deputies –– Edward Mashiringwani –– who has worked for the World Bank and over 20 years at the central bank. The other deputies, Charity Dhliwayo and Nicholas Ncube, sources said could retain their posts.

Under his tenure the central bank undertook quasi-fiscal policies like the Basic Commodity Supply Side Intervention (Bacossi) and the farm mechanisation programmes, among others, that have been widely criticised for fuelling inflation.

He, however, defended his policies saying he was operating in “desperate” situations that required desperate solutions.

He joined the Reserve Bank when inflation was double digit, but official figures last released indicated that it was now above 11 million percent.

If the central bank chief leaves, he would be the first governor since 1980 to have only served one term. His predecessors Kombo Moyana and Leonard Tsumba both served the mandatory two terms each.

Independent economist John Robertson said it would be unfair to blame Gono because he failed to deliver as a result of political interference by Zanu PF, which instructed him to embark on populist policies.

“We need discipline from the central bank,” Robertson said.

“We need the government to stop printing money . . . that is what’s causing inflation. He (Gono) wasn’t allowed to do what should have been done or he did not do what he could have done.”

Callisto Jokonya, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, declined to comment on Gono’s performance and assertions that business wanted the central bank boss fired or his contract not renewed at the end of his first term in office in November.

Jokonya said the business community would engage the parties in the inclusive government and assist in turning around the economy.

“Like any other development, this new era requires new thinking and new blood,” Jokonya said.

“Just as much as reconstructing the economy, business needs to transform equally.”

MDC secretary-general and chief negotiator in the inter-party talks, Tendai Biti, before the March elections blasted Gono as the “Al Qaeda” and “saboteur” of the country’s topsy-turvy economy.

Efforts to get a comment from Gono were fruitless last night as he was out of the country on business, but he is on the record saying that if asked to leave the bank he would do without qualms.

By Bernard Mpofu

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