FORMER Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono has broken his silence on the recent decision by his successor, John Mangudya to introduce bond notes into the economy.
Gono left his job at the expiry of a turbulent 10-year tenure in 2013, after presiding over a record-breaking inflationary era widely blamed on his quasi-fiscal operations as central bank chief.
During the period, Gono printed bearer cheques in a bid to contain a revolting economy, a move which drove basic commodities off supermarket shelves and onto the black market. The ex-governor has vehemently defended his decisions insisting he was merely taking instructions from his principal, President Robert Mugabe.
However, as debate continues to rage among Zimbabweans who have expressed strong resentment towards the return of their own currency, Gono’s silence has been conspicuous.
Following repeated attempts to solicit for his take on the bond notes controversy by NewZimbabwe.com, Gono poured his heart out, saying Mangudya was merely trying to tackle problems unique to his time.
Zimbabweans feel bond notes will bring back the turmoil that marred the former governor’s tenure.
“Generally, governors avoid dabbling into each other’s tenures, so I really can’t comment much except to pray for immediate and urgent solutions,” Gono said.
“The governor is receiving unfair attacks and brickbats from across the board and my hope is that he does not get discouraged.
“I do, as I think my predecessors also do, understand and support him even if we have not met to share ideas since he took office due to mutually busy diaries.
“No predecessor wants his successor to fail, and I’m no different. He (Mangudya) is operating in a different era from mine and no two periods are the same.”
The country’s opposition has thrashed the decision to introduce bond notes, saying this was an attempt by a cornered Mugabe-led regime to “rig the economy”.
Gono blamed the current uproar surrounding the pending introduction of bond notes to what he said was political disunity among Zimbabweans.
“The period 2000 to 2008 was characterised by unprecedented political animosity and conflict among Zimbabweans politically compared to anything ever seen in the 1990s,” he said.
“This lack of unity among Zimbabweans clearly adversely affected the economy and how the governor reacted to the ensuing challenges which probably a previous, current or future governor would not be confronted with.”
Gono added: “Political disunity in relation to economic issues reduces confidence in an economy and more so in one that desperately needs investment, jobs, production and stability.
“These and other unique factors during one’s given tenure make period comparisons academic.
“ . . . I always hold Zimbabwe’s economy and the well-being of all its people very dear and close to my heart such that I hope and pray that the proposed measures (bond notes) work to avoid Zimbabwe sliding into another casino status number two; this time round, in US$ terms.
“I think we need to delve deeper than we have done so far in finding and prescribing solutions to avoid curing symptoms only instead of the real causes of our current liquidity problems.
“Liquidity problems are fatal to any economy just like lack of adequate blood in our bodies leave vital organs of our bodies functionally dead.”