Zimbabwe’ Reserve Bank boss Gideon Gono has been assured of his stay in office desipte call for his removal. President Mugabe has said he will not submit to local and international pressure calling for the ouster of Gono.
Mugabe told mourners at a funeral ceremony for Peter Gono, the late brother to the central bank chief, that he will not sacrifice Gono, whom he praised for his manipulative strategies to keep his government – long under siege from western imposed sanctions – afloat.
“Within the country, in the inclusive (power-sharing) government, there are those who don’t want him, but I say he will not go,” Mugabe said on state television, in comments made at the funeral of Gono’s brother.
“Those in Britain and elsewhere are not happy that he is where he is, still (at) the top of the Reserve Bank (…) That is the crime he is alleged to have committed, that he stood behind the Government of this man called Robert Mugabe, who must collapse under regime change”
Western donors, looking for evidence of reform in Zimbabwe, see the removal of Gono, whose term has spanned the collapse of the once prosperous country, as key to resuming aid flows.
The MDC says Gono’s reappointment in November 2008 was against the Global Political Agreement signed by Zanu PF and itself which prescribes the input of the three main parties to the inclusive government in choosing the Reserve Bank governor, among other strategic government appointments.
Frustrated by Mugabe’s resolve to keep one of the most zealous defenders of his rule, the MDC has referred the matter to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) for arbitration.
SADC is the broker of the September 15, 2008 unity deal by Zanu PF and the two MDC parties while the AU is its architect.
A fierce battle for the control of the country’s finances is raging between Gono and his boss Tendai Biti who is Zimbabwe ’s new finance minister and the MDC secretary general.
Despite previous attempts to solve their simmering differences, the dispute has spilled into the public domain with Gono asking for the protection of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai from Biti.
Tsvangirai is adamant he will not involve himself in the dispute as his party does not recognise the central bank chief.
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which accuses Gono of policies that contributed to Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown, is also pushing for Gono to be ousted, saying his reappointment for another five-year term last November violated a pact signed with Mugabe.