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Gono ZANU-PF’s poster boy for corruption

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gonohad become the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s poster boy for corruption and financial mismanagement, former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee said barely a month after the swearing in of the inclusive government.

According to a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, McGee said this after meeting Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Industry Minister Welshman Ncube and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Gorden Moyo.

They were complaining that the continued presence of Gono at the central bank complicated chances of getting assistance.

Biti said that he was seeking a US$300 million line of credit for private businesses and short-term budgetary support from South Africa but he had been told by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel that Zimbabwe would not get the money as long as Gono remained in the picture.

Ncube said when he discussed credit facilities with the business sector he was told that recovery of a collective total of US$204 million frozen at the RBZ would be as important as credit.

When he took up the issue with Gono he was told that the money was gone. The Joint Operations Command had ordered him to use the money for the March elections in a letter of indemnity signed by then Minister of Security Didymus Mutasa.

Moyo said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had come up with a multi-pronged approach to get rid of Gono. This included putting pressure on President Robert Mugabe, using the Southern African Development Community and marginalising him.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE184, GIDEON GONO MUST GO–BUT HOW?

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE184

2009-03-04 16:31

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2678

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2799

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RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5275

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1968

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000184

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J.HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/04/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM EFIN ZI

SUBJECT: GIDEON GONO MUST GO–BUT HOW?

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

1. (C) Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono

has become the ZANU-PF poster boy for corruption and

financial mismanagement. The MDC realizes that Gono’s

presence at the RBZ complicates possibilities of assistance

to Zimbabwe. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told the

Ambassador on numerous occasions that Gono’s exit from the

scene is one of his top priorities.

 

2. (C) Minister of Finance Tendai Biti told us March 3 that

he had been in continuing discussions with South African

authorities and was seeking a US$300 million line of credit

for private businesses and short-term budgetary support.

While South African President Motlanthe and Foreign Minister

Dlamini Zuma were sympathetic, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel

and Reserve Bank Governor Mboweni were opposed. Manuel

appeared to be softening on lines of credit, but he had made

clear his aversion to financial support to Zimbabwe as long

as Gono remained in the picture. (COMMENT: Manuel’s

reluctance may be due to the reported misuse and waste of a

South African R300 million agricultural support package to

Zimbabwe for the summer growing season. END COMMENT.) Biti

commented that Gono’s quasi-fiscal activities and illegal

supplying of forex to ZANU-PF insiders had affected the new

government’s credibility and that it was important he leave

the RBZ.

 

3. (C) Minister of Industry Welshman Ncube spoke with us on

March 4 and concurred with Biti that Gono was a liability.

He recounted that he had met recently with representatives of

a number of large businesses to discuss credit facilities.

They told him that recovery of a collective total of US$204

million frozen at the RBZ would be as important as credit.

Ncube took up the issue with Gono who told him the money was

gone. The Joint Operations Command (JOC) had ordered him to

use the money for the March election in a letter of indemnity

signed by then Minister of Security Didymus Mutasa. Noting

that ZANU-PF was wont to protect its own, Ncube doubted

strongly that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe would agree

to his removal. He said the alternative was to marginalize

Gono by eliminating RBZ quasi-fiscal activities.

 

4. (C) According to Gordon Moyo, Minister of State in the

Prime Minister’s Office, the MDC has a multi-pronged strategy

with respect to Gono. Tsvangirai will continue to argue to

Mugabe that Gono’s reappointment last year was in violation

of the Inter-Party Agreement of September 15, and that it was

in violation of the Reserve Bank Act which requires the

president to appoint the governor after consultation with the

finance minister. Arguably at the time there was no legally

appointed finance minister since Mugabe had dissolved cabinet

before the March elections. Tsvangirai will next appeal to

SADC in its role as a guarantor of the September 15 agreement

to prevail upon Mugabe to dismiss Gono. Finally, in an

effort to put pressure on Mugabe, Biti will seek, as he has

Qeffort to put pressure on Mugabe, Biti will seek, as he has

already done, to marginalize Gono, and Parliament will

initiate an inquiry into Gono’s illegal activities.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

5. (C) Gono’s continuing position at the RBZ is a powerful

symbol of the absence of ZANU-PF good faith. The MDC has

rightly pressed for his exit, but we are skeptical he will go

soon. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(1047 VIEWS)

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