FORMER Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono has refused to be drawn into the hullabaloo being stirred in the public media by faceless characters over his decision to engage Tendai Biti of the Movement for Democratic Change to defend him against corruption allegations brought up by his former advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke.
Gono exited the RBZ last month after his second and final five-year term of office as governor ended on November 30.The RBZ Act rules out any extension or re-appointment beyond the 10 years he has served as governor.
A businessman of note, Gono now appears to be destined for politics.
This was after his home province of Manicaland nominated him to fill the senatorial seat left vacant following the death of Kumbirai Kangai in August.
Curiously, Gono has been under constant attacks towards the end of his tenure at the RBZ and these have since escalated now that he has been nominated for a seat in the Senate.
His former advisor, Kereke, was the first to throw a salvo when he revived almost two-year old allegations he made upon leaving the RBZ that Gono had been involved in corrupt dealings during his 10 years at the central bank. Recently, the Bikita West legislator filed a Constitutional Court application challenging the Anti-Corruption Commission for its alleged failure to investigate Gono.
Recent reports carried by the public media suggest that daggers have been drawn out against the former RBZ boss in certain quarters of ZANU-PF and the government.
On Wednesday, the state-owned Herald reported that Gono has sought Biti’s representation, before quoting unnamed sources raising a stink over his relationship with the former finance minister.
The same publication went on to quote faceless sources insinuating that there was unease within the ruling ZANU-PF party over Gono’s suitability as Senator-designate.
Gono has, however, refused to be dragged into the hullabaloo.
He said unlike some people who were charging, pre-trying, convicting and pre-sentencing him before the courts have even started their job, he would not mimic their weaknesses and be the evil that he has been fighting against by speaking or pronouncing himself to the media on any matter that is before the courts.
“To do so would no doubt be regarded as being in contempt of our court and judicial processes. It is basic knowledge that matters before the courts are sub-judice. Let us therefore allow due process of the law to take place and after that we can talk at liberty and interpret my actions with facts,” he told the Financial Gazette after being contacted for comment yesterday.
“And, mind you, unlike some people who cannot be brought before or have no guts to face the courts even for glaring and serious allegations of violence against women, property and child sexual abuses because they are allegedly well-connected in circles that deal with such matters, I am happy to stand trial for each and every misdemeanour I am accused of and the sooner the better so we get on with delivering our other developmental promises to the people at this very trying time without these irritations,” he added.
Gono said it was his constitutional right to choose who should represent him in the courts of law, before opening up on the difficulties he has been experiencing in trying to secure a trial date in two cases in which he is suing Kereke for defamation.
“The team or who I choose to be my legal representative(s) is my prerogative and constitutional right of choice so long as that team or person(s) will in my judgement, best serve and protect my interests without being compromised or intimidated by forces behind some of those making allegations against me for reasons far removed from facts but rather, for political expediency,” said Gono.
“I have, through my lawyer Mr Edwin Isaac Manikai of Dube Manikai and Hwacha asked for trial dates in my two defamation cases against Kereke since June, 2012 but have not secured one, yet the same person I am supposed to take to court and for whom I cannot get a date wakes up in the morning, recycles the same old allegations against me and in the evening the state media is already pre-judging, taking sides and convicting me.
“Last Thursday evening, before the ZANU-PF conference which started on Friday was a classical case in point. For now therefore let those who cannot resist the temptation to use the state media at every turn to either influence public opinion against me and my family or attempt to usurp the role and powers of the courts, continue to have a field day undeterred even though the risk is very high that those being used could be adding to their financial woes and digging their economic graves with their teeth as time will come and come soon for them to account for their actions in our courts for their over zealousness”.
Kereke left the RBZ in February 2012 under a cloud. In an interview with the state television, he denied that there was bad blood between him and Gono.
However, his conduct tells a different story.
He has made several allegations against Gono, claiming his former boss stole gold bullion, cars, shares and public funds.
Gono has since filed a US$10 million defamation suit against him, saying he made false statements that tarnished his reputation.
There were also allegations that Gono stole 529 pieces of gold coins although it later emerged that the coins were in the RBZ’s custody.
Gono has insisted he did nothing wrong, saying he will have his day in court.
“I have been a silent victim of several unfounded accusations including being ‘caused of the disappearance of someone’s wife and child,’ a matter that has been buried and never heard of since it was widely reported last year by Kereke,” he said yesterday.
This was in reference to claims made by Kereke in September last year that his wife and four-year old daughter “just vanished” on September 13, 2012 and the police were now helping with investigations.
Nothing has been heard of the case since then.
Yesterday, Gono said it would be nice to find out from the authorities why in some countries the disappearance of even one child results in a massive public drive to find that child but here in Zimbabwe the disappearance of a whole “mother and child” does not cause alarm or public comment by authorities that are supposed to look after every citizen or interview the suspects.
“Where are our women and child protection groups? Why are they not concerned by the reported disappearance of mother and child? Are they alive? If dead, have their remains or graves been identified? Why haven’t I been asked to account for those disappearances since I was fingered? These and many more false allegations shall unmask who between us is mentally demented or being used for political ends, why and by who I have asked Kereke to prove his allegations against me for this and many more,” he said. — Staff Reporter.