FOR MANY years now the name Gideon Gono has stood for different things and aroused equally divergent opinion within Zimbabwean society.
This self-made man who, we are told, through personal industry and great determination rose from a mere “tea boy”, (Zimbabwean parlance which denotes a general hand specifically hired for brewing and serving tea), to a banker of note and later governor of the Reserved Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), an avid reader, writer and through actual research and thesis submission.
During the lean and leaner years of hyper-inflation and shortages of just about everything, the name Gono stood for a juggler, a wrestler struggling to pin down the negatives of a currency whose value was lost sooner than the ink dried on the paper. He became “Bearer Cheques”. Then he was fighting what seemed an endless chain of economic challenges — to use his favourite term.
This was well before the international credit crunch and the large-scale printing of money also happened in the United States to save their economy which was in tailspin and two or so trillion American dollars later their automotive businesses are ticking again and foreclosures halted somewhat, well, the rest is history really.
When agriculture needed support after the new land ownership order presented the country with the challenge of equipping the newly-resettled farmers with equipment and inputs to kick start a new revolution post the land re-distribution, Gono again emerged as the master of creativity driven by the reality that the country faced extraordinary circumstances.
Indeed such extraordinary measures were needed and many up to today in government, Zanu PF, and society in general are herding Gono-supplied cattle, till the land using Gono-supplied tractors etc.
Many Zimbabweans agree that this particular period of our nationhood represents the most difficult and painful period surpassed nationally at least, only by the liberation struggle. It is also agreed generally now that while Gono was like most Zimbabweans let down by politics, hated for his quasi-fiscal activities, his actions kept Zimbabwe ticking with a lot of pain shared by all citizens and he was well defended by members of Zanu PF and the military chiefs at some point against the ire of the MDCs in the main before they too convinced by his good intensions warmed up to him and defended him during the days of the GNU.
One only needs to listen how the MDCs have come out guns blazing defending his right to choose a lawyer of his liking to realise that there is no bitterness for the man.
Today he is known as a successful businessman and economic player in our country with interests in agriculture and many other spheres.
It is this part of Gono’s life which faces a challenge through the accusations and court proceedings soon to unravel. It is now common cause that Gono is accused of corruption and using his position at the helm of the RBZ to enrich himself. We now know that his chief accuser Munyaradzi Kereke, having been advisor to Gono, lost all sentiment for his former boss for reasons yet unknown, but hopefully soon to become clearer through the court case where Gono will be represented by Tendai Biti who besides being a qualified and registered lawyer runs a law firm in Zimbabwe.
He is also the secretary-general of the MDC-T. This political side of Biti’s credentials has caused much constipation and consternation in Zanu PF.
It is this latest development in the former governor’s endeavours, that of his foray into the political maze via a Zanu PF senatorial list which he is likely to be conferred as recently confirmed by the politburo which has raised all manner of concern and political tsoro.
Gono’s entry into the shark-infested political waters so muddied to the core by the now confirmed factionalism euphemistically referred to as bhora musango in Zanu PF lingo, has of course quite naturally been further heated up by his choice of legal representation.
There is clearly something that his newfound political opponents have known and possibly feared all this while. It is interesting that the selfsame Kereke who has become some form of blazing arrowhead in the anti-Gono movement has had his own matters political within the liberation party. Political rumour has it that his saving grace has been his suspected leaning towards a certain pole crocodile farming camp in the faction riddled party.
The appetite and energy for nipping and destroy Gono’s political bud is amazing in the least. So hot and determined have been the major, but hidden players such that a poor State media editor has had to face the music for over relying on these “sources” who are linked to the military and a politburo member who when seeing the danger presented by this juvenile exposure and possibly fully knowing that the former governor himself does have an ear for certain steely quarters within the establishment, beat a hasty retreat leaving the poor chap recently appointed to take it on the chin for the team.
Clearly the attack on Biti’s selection as legal representative is a smoke screen and Gono seems to know this judging by his confidence which comes out clearly in his speech, itself a form of broadside and declaration of innocence and stoic political determination points to a grander plan yet.
It is with no doubt the beginning of an interesting dance which might see us all well entertained.