Gono breathes fire

HARARE — Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono on Saturday accused the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) of carrying out a hatchet job on him, following a TV report on Friday night claiming that he had performed a U-turn on his opposition to the indigenisation of banks.


Gono said the ZBC had removed his comments from their context and selectively omitted certain qualifications to his statements before the Bulawayo business community “for reasons best known to themselves”.

The RBZ chief, due to present his Mid-Term Monetary Policy statement later this month, said it was also curious that the ZBC had waited a whole week before running their report.

“The ZBC decided to select certain speech bites from both my statement and that of Dr Eric Bloch, with whom I shared a platform in Bulawayo on Wednesday, August 7,” Gono said in a statement.

“What ZBC did to both of us is akin to running with a portion of a statement while leaving out a very important condition to that statement.
“It’s like telling people that the Highway Code says ‘do not drink’ or ‘do not drive’, when the full sentence says ‘do not drink and drive’! That’s what the ZBC did to us.”

Gono has been vocal in his opposition of a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the indigenisation of banks, to bring them in line with Zimbabwean law which requires foreign companies to hand over a controlling stake to locals.

London-based Standard Chartered and Barclays, are among banks that would be targeted for indigenisation — a policy being vigorously pursued by the Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

Gono said: “Let me reiterate for the umpteenth time and state that there can never be a U-turn by the central bank or by the governor or board on this matter.

“We will not allow untrained hands to play with gun powder to the detriment of this whole economy, depositors or the wishes of my principal, President Robert Mugabe, who is very clear with regards to the sensitivity and critical importance of the financial sector.”

The RBZ chief, who has already filed a complaint with Tarzen Mandizvidza, the ZBC general manager, said he told his audience in Bulawayo that “we’re not opposed to indigenisation in the banking sector, but we insist that it be done in an orderly manner”.

“I want to assure all stakeholders that there will not be the kind of forced, unstructured, chaotic or illegal interventions in the banking sector along the lines that some quarters have been calling for.

“That will not happen, nor will that ever be allowed under my watch,” he said.
“Indigenisation can never be a euphemism for self-enrichment or disorder. I’m quite convinced that when we come to it, the programme will be handled professionally by experienced, competent, mature, steady and knowledgeable hands of which the central bank will be an
integral part in as far as approving feasible parameters and guiding the process is concerned and
ensuring that the country’sbanking and exchange control laws are judiciously followed.”

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