Editor’s Memo: Gono has Become a Symbol of Division

WE have often warned that Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono — by hanging on to office — was parking himself into a tight spot where he would become a hostage to Zanu PF’s crocodilian ideals.


President Mugabe’s declaration last month that Gono was not going anywhere, and the concomitant support from Zanu PF places the governor in an invidious position. He has taken the poisoned chalice and asked for a refill.  

In his successive monetary policy statements he painstakingly tried to proclaim his independence from Zanu PF’s projects by attacking damaging policies like land grabs and price controls.

He was aware of the toxicity of an open alliance with Zanu PF but always spoke glowingly of his principal, President Mugabe. While there is no real distinction between Mugabe and Zanu PF, Gono has been careful not to be identified as a party cadre. Instead he tried to be a unifying force for Zimbabweans.  He pushed for a political settlement as a solution to the country’s economic decline.

“The economy and politics are inextricably intertwined such that it does not make sense for anyone to expect the RBZ to somehow fix the national economy and turn it around for the better while political players continue to play bickering games over the way forward,” he said in a newspaper interview last December.

“Therefore, I cannot imagine let alone proffer any way forward in terms of reviving the economy given the current situation that is not based on and informed by a political economy of national unity.

As such, the only way forward for our country is for Zimbabweans to come together and to speak with one voice to foster a national consensus that puts the country’s interests first.

“For sometime now my team and I at the RBZ have been calling for a social contract and a spirit of national healing as the pillars of the way forward not just in our national economy but also in our national politics,” he said.

The irony of it is that political players today are bickering over his continued stay in office. He has become a symbol of division and negative political contest. He is doomed.

He believed at the time that he would strike the right chord with his opponents in the MDC-T, thus guaranteeing his political survival. That is to say that under the inclusive government, he expected endorsement from the MDC-T, a party he has been very careful not to condemn.

That endorsement would have cleansed him of all the accusations that have shadowed his tenure at the central bank. Like his principal Robert Mugabe, Gono badly needed the MDC to give him thumbs up. Like a politician he now has to preoccupy himself with legitimacy and not competence.

He remains unwanted within the MDC-T. He has to settle for Mugabe’s kiss of death for comfort. Mugabe has become the governor’s protector. The president is prepared to face off with anyone who thinks that Gono should go.

Mugabe’s recent bold declaration that Gono is not going anywhere created a new political phenomenon of the Gono factor in Zanu PF’s politics. Political creatures linked to Zanu PF have been creeping out of the woodwork to make proclamations and threats in the name of Gono. These include war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba who threatened to remove white farmers from the land if Gono’s persecution continued.

“As war veterans, we are saying those whites whom we had allowed to remain in the farms should leave with immediate effect — immediately!

“We can only allow them to remain on condition that they drop the issue of Gono and (Attorney-General Johannes) Tomana leaving their jobs.”

 There have been toadying statements from Zanu PF politicians, resettled farmers, Doctors for Development, the military, war collaborators and other institutions with close links to Zanu PF.

These are Gono’s new best friends it seems. It does not exactly make him the flavour of the month.

In essence, the latest solidarity messages in support of the RBZ governor now firmly place him in the league of Zanu PF fall guys, including those accused of causing disruptions on the land. Gono may not want to be associated with Chinotimba’s boisterousness but the governor will now find it very difficult to extricate himself from his current invidious position in which he has become an appendage of Zanu PF. He cannot openly condemn Chinos either!

Then there were disclosures by Mashonaland Central governor Martin Dinha that Gono helped Zanu PF. And this is supposed to endear him to all Zimbabweans especially MDC-T supporters?

If anything, Gono has become the rallying point for Zanu PF which has largely been rudderless since the formation of the unity government. Zanu PF will now try to use the spat over Gono’s candidature as RBZ governor as the new form of political contestation with the MDC-T in the same way Mugabe’s party has used the land issue and lately sanctions to try and drum up support. The focus will no longer be on his role as RBZ governor but a political football. Where will it land I wonder!

BY VINCENT KAHIYA

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