I bet Dr Gono is superstitious or extremely confused by circumstances surrounding his work. Otherwise there is no misfortune here. It is important to note that Gono was appointed by President Mugabe who has called Australia an outpost of racism. Gono bemoans the dismissal of his children from a racist country, what hypocrisy. We must also not forget that Gono is Mugabe’s personal banker and financial adviser. Gono has allegedly operated like a pseudo-prime minister quoting even the anger of his colleges in the now crumbling zanu pf edifice.
To follow Gono’s logic, he operated in the opaque and illegal way he did because our country was fighting a war and he was required to bust sanctions. Logically Gono must now step aside because the country no longer needs to do the same but rather to repair relations with the international community and they require the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to operate in terms of their international expectations and standards. But before I address my core issue here I want to ask the readers of this article to reflect on why Gono wants to cling to the governor’s post by whatever means possible or impossible.
The core issue in this article is point 6 of Gono’s letter. I find this part of Gono’s case to be painfully mean and completely insensitive. For the benefit of all I will paraphrase it here. Gono refers to the expulsion of his children from a university in Australia. He says his children suffered a two year rollback in their university education. The same children could not easily get an alternative university because Minister Hon. T. Biti had associated their father with Al-Qaeda and so every other university wanted this connection explained.
At least on the last point Gono is either lying, assumes Zimbabweans to be dumb and buffoons or both. Did the university of Zimbabwe also set the same conditions, if not why is it that these children were not brought to their home university run by Zanu pf goons who are the custodians of nationalist virtues which Gideon Gono should uphold since he is part of the same political clan. Gono cheekily asks who among parents can stomach such misfortune.
Which misfortune Dr. Gono? The three girls had the luxury of being exported to get the best education in foreign lands and the opportunity to still pick a university of their choice after their expulsion. Meanwhile universities in their country had become shells of their former colonial status. These girls whom I take to represent all kids of Zanu pf officials were benefiting from" British kith and kin" education standards at the expense of all children in Zimbabwe. The fees Gono paid for his children at a time when the country was facing a foreign currency crunch could have made a big difference for all of us. Zimbabwe’s education system went down the drain as the infrastructure rotted, professionals fled poor working conditions and poor remuneration and our parents failed to pay the ever increasing fees.
While Gono mourns his so called misfortune and his children’s two year rollback our own families could not eat or clothes their children. They were struggling to send their children to primary or secondary school. Those who did saw their children leave them for uncertain future in unknown countries, many of them dumping their acquired skills for all kinds of jobs either in Africa or some parts of the world. A huge young and vibrant Zimbabwean population is jobless in South Africa and the United Kingdom. All these people are kin to come back home to contribute to the rebuilding of their country if the country show clear signs of moving forward. We cannot get any kind of international financial support because President Mugabe thinks Gono should remain at RBZ and Gono agrees that he should keep his job despite the mess he agrees he has made of the bank. Who among parents can stomach such nonsense?
We should remember the many university students who died at the hands of Zanu pf. There are those who were expelled, arrested and beaten for standing up for a better education and expressing their expectation for a better Zimbabwe. Their parents saw their wish to have at list one university graduate in their family squashed before them. These mostly student leaders within the rank and file of the Zimbabwe National Students Union had nowhere else to go, they could not go home to face their parents after expulsion.
Their parents were equally harassed by government secret agents because of their children’s activism. These patriotic young men and women will forever live with the goree stories of their persecution at the hands of a government which should have protected them. While some of them found ways to finally continue their studies, quite a number lost it and their parents will forever live with the frustration of having given all they had only for their government to destroy the fortunes of their brilliant children. Surely the actors in Zanu Pf have feelings.
How did Gono feel when students were expelled, arrested or killed? Did he ever empathize with their parents or it only dawned on him when his children met the same fate albeit under different circumstances. And so does this man seriously expect Zimbabweans to sympathize with him or he is just being theatrical.
And what about those Zimbabweans who were killed after the March elections? Is it not this same Gono whose reserve bank printed the money used to pay the killers and to buy vehicles and supplies for the murderers? Does he really think the parents of these victims can stomach it? If not did it ever dawn on Gono to explain to Mugabe and Mnangagwa that what he calls "political madness’’ necessary. To be clear Zanu Pf killed people for obvious political objectives. Gono either directly or indirectly through his quasi-fiscal activities funded the semi-civil conflict that ensued after the March harmonized elections. The juntas were using RBZ vehicles which Gono is now parceling out to MPs to abduct and kill MDC activists. Has the political madness become more apparent today Dr Gono?
Why should government officials suck from the state only to export not only their families abroad but also the financial resources which should be exploited to build and broaden opportunities at home? You remember President Mugabe’s daughter is studying in Hong-Kong and the allegations that he bought a magnificent property there. Are their families not safer at home than outside? Can we not put limits to this? I say so because of our own context and the huge problems we continue to face yet we need to markedly reduce some of our financial burdens if the custodians of the national pace lived and behaved in accordance with our means, more importantly the need to be transparent.
Gono and his compatriots in the dirtier hard line faction of Zanu Pf realize that the ordinary Zimbabweans have suffered more than they can imagine. What shocks them is what they have daily subjected us to. We have suffered more than they can imagine .While Gono fails to stomach his children exercising the option of finding another university which suites them, ordinary Zimbabweans have had to live with the reality that their children will never have an opportunity to access education, never get a job and will die poor.
Gono’s appeal to the Prime Minister and JOMIC is nonsensical. He should desist from abusing the spirit and institutions of reconciliation for selfish personal reasons. There are many Zimbabweans with better skills, who can do a better job. For whose benefit does he want to cling to on? The current government offers the ordinary Zimbabweans the only opportunity to eke out an honest living from out of our skills. We expect everyone, Gono and the hawkish Zanu pf Mnangagwa faction to uphold this agreement to its letter and spirit. Our history is etched with atrocious patches. While everyone seems prepared to talk and forgive now, we may not want to forgive these same culprits forever.
Gideon Hlamalani Chitanga is former ZINASU Vice President, Currently Studying for a MA, Development, Governance and Democracy, Graduate Institute of Social Studies (ISS),The Hague, The Netherlands.