Gono must go: MDC throws gauntlet at Zanu PF

President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formed a transitional government in February, but the parties are at odds over the fate of Central Bank Chief Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, both Mugabe allies.

The MDC has been highly critical of the two men, blaming Gono for fuelling hyperinflation through printing money to shore up Mugabe’s past governments, while accusing Tomana of presiding over the prosecution of rights and opposition activists.

Mugabe last week said Gono would not go, but the issue has been referred to a regional body for arbitration.

Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary-general and finance minister, told journalists that about 1,000 party delegates attending an annual party conference had passed a resolution that Gono and Tomana resign.

"Conference calls that in the national interest, Johannes Tomana and Gideon Gono must resign forthwith," Biti said.

"What this resolution is simply doing is to appeal to the conscience of the respective gentlemen, that in the national interest, they must consider their fate in employment in the government service."

Tsvangirai had earlier told party members that failure to resolve outstanding issues would affect the credibility of the new government as Western countries continue to withhold critical funds, demanding more reforms.

Zimbabwe has suffered a decade of economic collapse and political tensions, but the formation of the new government has raised hopes of recovery. 

The party, formed in September 1999, says hundreds of its members have been killed in political violence by ZANU-PF supporters and on Sunday said it would continue to mobilise for elections, expected once a new constitution has been written.

The MDC said some officials in the country’s security institutions had failed to adapt to the new political order.

Senior security officers, especially in the military, have in the past openly sided with Mugabe and vowed that Tsvangirai would never rule Zimbabwe.

"The transitional government must move urgently to ensure institutional and paradigm transformation in the remaining pockets of our state security agencies," said Biti.