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Tendai Biti is my choice — Gideon Gono

FORMER Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and Zanu PF Buhera senator-designate Gideon Gono has defended his choice of MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti

FORMER Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor and Zanu PF Buhera senator-designate Gideon Gono has defended his choice of MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti as his lawyer and accused his former adviser Munyaradzi Kereke of raising the issue “for political expediency”.

Report by News Editor

In a statement yesterday, Gono said it was his constitutional right to choose a lawyer of his choice to represent him in a court case where Kereke is accusing him of engaging in corrupt activities during his 10-year tenure as RBZ boss.

Biti served as Finance minister in the inclusive government whose term ended early this year.

“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 judgment, 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,” Gono said.

“Unlike some people who are charging, pre-trying, convicting and pre-sentencing me before the courts have even started their job, I’m not going to mimic their weaknesses and be the evil that I’m fighting against, by speaking or pronouncing myself 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 courts and judicial processes. It is basic knowledge that matters before the courts are sub-judice (cannot be discussed in public).”

Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa on Tuesday told the State media that it was within Gono’s right to engage any lawyer of his choice, including Biti.

“It is his right to look for the best lawyer. If he thinks Biti is the one he wants to pick, it is up to him. Biti practices in Zimbabwe. He practices in Zimbabwean courts and not in South Africa or England. It is up to Gono to choose who he wants to defend him,” Mutasa was quoted as having said.

In apparent reference to Kereke, who faces accusations of rape, Gono said: “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 abuse, 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 said he had been a silent victim of several unfounded accusations, including causing the disappearance of someone’s wife and child.

It would be proper, Gono said, to find out from the authorities why in some countries, the disappearance of even one child resulted in a massive public drive to find that child, but locally, the disappearance of a whole “mother and child” did not cause alarm or public comment by authorities that were “supposed to look after us all”.

“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,” Gono said.

Through his lawyer Edwin Isaac Manikai, Gono said he had tried and failed to secure trial dates in two defamation cases against Kereke since June last year, “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”.

“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 overzealousness.”