Whatever the case, these people could command much better salaries in Hollywood than whatever Our Governor is paying them. The Governor is indeed a generous man. He pays for everything, from the news on television about him defending a diary farmer from farm invaders and the footage about his (in)famous walk-about in Harare, to the interview supplements running in The Herald.
Now, I don’t have any evidence that some journalists are driving cars that were supplied by the Governor as a thank you, but I know these guys (and girls) had no financial capacity to dive into such luxury and at least some of them experienced life-serving turn-around in their financial situations after famous interviews.
In the official media, interviewing Our Governor is still considered a lucrative undertaking. And it is the preserve of a very few. A call from Our Governor to Henry Muradzikwa, then chief executive of ZBC, transformed his life. First, The Governor offered to pay “quite a lot” for any news about him on television and, secondly he would make cash, note please, cash available for them to juice up the equipment. And this soon after the Iranian government, bless the Ayatollah’s soul, had just kitted ZTV with, admittedly, very modern equipment for their studios.
(Dr) Muradzikwa would have been foolish to say no, especially when the package came with the condition that he personally travel to the Far East to source the equipment! And the little matter of going through Harare International Airport security allegedly with US$300 000 would be taken care of by RBZ security who would personally ensure a trouble-free exit.
In cynical defiance of President Robert Mugabe’s Look East Policy, Gono soon dispatched Supa Mandiwanzira of Mighty Movies west. Clutching a briefcase full of crisp US dollar notes Mandiwanzira descended on New York, there to purchase television equipment, ostensibly to cover Zanu-PF’s election campaign. Gono is a shareholder at Mighty Movies.
They still talk fondly in Manhattan about the benevolence of the visitor’s entertainment style.
I’m relating these stories just to make readers understand the way Gono operated, the powers he wielded and which today must be weighing on his decision whether to do the right thing and simply resign for the sake of our country, or hang on. Too many things that he did, particularly during his first tenure, certainly would qualify as unethical. But, grant him that, his principals knew it. They accepted the story about all this being done in the interest of the country and that little Zimbabwe was under siege, that the entire western world was out to reverse our revolutionary gains.
Since the Zanu-PF top brass were among the beneficiaries of Gono’s legendary benevolence, who were they to ask silly questions? Gono played on their fears, placed himself in the position of benefactor and saviour and, in the process, acquired more power than any other person in Zimbabwe, Mugabe included, some argue.
In doing so, he ensured one thing. He allowed as many influential people as possible to pick the apples from the tree he so vigorously shook. He knew the greedy ones and he fed their voracious appetite. He knew the genuinely needy ones, who needed fertiliser and ploughs and appreciated the few US$ for a business-serving import and he gave them too, less generously though.
He was there for the little independent newspapers that sang his praise, pumping money into their advertisements just to keep them happy but all the time reserving the lion’s share of his media largesse for main stream media.
The security chiefs suddenly found themselves reporting, not to their commander-in-chief, but to Gideon Gono and in due course he became their reference point. They, through Gono, were suddenly setting prices of food, determining the distribution of tractors and influencing the running of the civilian government on a daily basis, including determining the outcome of democratic elections.
Since the advent of the GPA, Gono became aware of the torrid time he was going to face, more so when Tendai Biti became Minister of Finance. His game plan now comes into its own. It’s simply called blackmail. The Governor has, in each and every statement he has made in his defence, more than suggested that a lot of the people in power today, from both sides of the aisle, have broken the law during his watch. He, in effect, has allowed them to break the law. He has meticulously recorded their crimes and their indebtedness first to his former Jewel Bank and now to the Reserve Bank and, therefore to himself.
On a number of occasions he has pleaded “to let bygones be bygones”. He knows how to send the shivers up their collective spine.
This time, he has escalated the blackmail to Biti personally. All along, we are now told, Honey and Blanckenberg, Biti’s respected law firm, has been breaking the laws of the country by keeping their clients’ money in a foreign account far, far away from the RBZ officials’ nimble fingers. In fact, we are told, the case is supposed to be in the courts and this, we are told with a flourish, is the reason why Biti has viciously attacked Our Governor.
Two things are likely to happen very soon. The police, the prosecution services, the courts, the AG will suddenly wake up and we should be seeing the case suddenly being made real and brought before the courts. Biti will be at the centre of the charges even though this is likely a representational case and we should hear from selective legal experts justifying the need for Biti to recuse himself from his office while the case goes on.
Then the brakes will be applied to the process and Biti will be back in Harvest House – that is until the next general elections. The second thing that’s likely to happen is that nothing will happen. The Prime Minister will choose to keep quiet, as indeed he should, and watch the show from the sidelines.
Why should he do anything to “politically protect” Gono when the governor already has all the protection he needs from his own principals.
Oh, how the times are a changing. It’s just a few months ago that we all needed the protection of Gono, from the Europeans, imperialists of the world, Botswana, the SADC, white farmers, from the thug next door and the bully at school. Now he wants protection from a mere mortal like Morgan Tsvangirai!
The world is littered with the mighty fallen, who in their prime thought the world was theirs to abuse. By the same token, there are many a former mighty man who had the foresight to know when their time was up and they gave up in a controlled manner to enjoy their loot.
Gono has to decide now, his principals’ thoughts be damned, whether he really wants to continue fighting it out. He has to be clever enough to know that there are no principals out there; just one principal.
And that principal is on his last leg right now; may be half a leg, for that matter. He has to decide if the whole country should suffer just because of that one principal. He has to decide between country and Robert Gabriel Mugabe. He sure should know it’s a question of time before he goes because go he will.
The vast majority of Zimbabweans wait with bated breath the day an audit of the Reserve Bank shall be conducted. They want to know what transpired there.
They want to know who has been looting the national coffers, whose children are living in luxury abroad, their lives supported by the tax-payer. They want to know how the Zimbabwe dollar was printed, the controls and if it’s true that there was double printing going on. Is it true that the Twin-cab trucks of the political top brass regularly descended into the basement of the RBZ to be loaded with newly printed banknotes?
If there never was no wrong done, then let the audit so reveal.
Gideon Gono was never going to go down without a fight. And it’s already getting nasty.
Those that he allowed to benefit are the loudest in refusing to let him go. To the rest of us Zimbabweans, the answer would be simple really – get rid of them all.