HARARE – Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-advisor Munyaradzi Kereke, in what promises to be a tantalising case for many Zimbabweans.
Apart from fighting Kereke, who has made persistent allegations that he stole public funds for personal gain, the RBZ chief is also battling Zanu PF political hawks who are reportedly eager to reinstate his hauling before Parliament to disclose beneficiaries of the farm mechanisation programme.
And with the two locked in an unintelligible feud, which also saw Kereke being ejected from the Central Bank early this year, Gono says his former aide’s claims that he misappropriated $6,5 million, among other scurrilous charges, were meant to tarnish his good name.
“The statement was understood by… by defendant to mean, amongst other things, that plaintiff is dishonest, a liar, a cheat, treasonous, without integrity, not fit to hold a public office, in that he has committed unlawful acts of theft, has lied, has cheated, drafted laws that would result in civil war, is a criminal and has and has used his office to engage members of government to silence defendant,” Gono’s attorneys Dube, Manikai and Hwacha said, adding as a result he had “suffered damages in the amount of $10million.”
And through his lawyers Gasa Nyamadzawo and Associates, Kereke has filed a motion to defend the suit.
Apart from accusing Gono – in a February 28 letter – of siphoning RBZ money, cars and gold bullion for personal gain, the Rock Medical Clinic (RMC) proprietor also says that his ex-boss pinched $100 000 from his company accounts.
In this epic clash, the 39 year-old economic also claims that he was pushed out of the RBZ by Gono and his courtiers to cover up for their alleged financial misdemeanours, which the latter has described as false and baseless.
While Gono had chosen to remain silent ever since Kereke’s contentious letter surfaced on the Internet, it was his August 17 lawsuit and response that has caught many by surprise, especially in terms of its timing.
For a man so much given to bluster and invoking the might of his resources to fight opponents whenever his territory or turf is threatened, it remains to be seen how Kereke will fare – or survive – in this one, analysts say.
As things stand, he is battling other damaging social allegations involving a 13 year-old Harare girl and is involved in an ugly legal spat with several newspapers, including the Daily News and a local weekly the Weekend Post.