Good bye, says Gono

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HARARE – Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono’s 10-year tenure at the helm of  the country’s apex bank comes to an end today.

Gono has since appointed one of his deputies,  Charity Dhliwayo to step in as acting governor until March next year.

In a farewell memo to the RBZ directors, deputy governors, management and staff, Gono said the law at this stage allowed him to only appoint an acting governor among the two deputy governors on a rotational basis.

“To this end, with effect from 1 December 2013 to 28 February, 2014, Dr Charity Dhliwayo will be acting governor and from 1 March, 2014 to 31 May, 2014, Dr K. Mlambo will act if a decision has not been made for a substantive governor by then,” Gono said in the statement.

“I request you all to give the two your maximum support.”

There was no immediate comment from government.

Gono, born in November 1959, was appointed to head the central bank in December 2003 and said he took the job because he relished the challenge. Gono was re-appointed as Central Bank governor for a second five-year term in November 2008, the term which expired today.

“It is exactly ten years or 120 months since I joined the RBZ family on a tour of duty as governor and while it seems like yesterday, in reality it isn’t,” Gono said. “Children who were born at the time I joined the Bank are now at mid-primary level in their schooling! That is how long my stay has been at the Bank and in terms of the law, it is time for me to pack my bags and move on other assignments.”

“There is not much to say about my tenure here at the Bank which you all do not know. The story is better told, and evaluation best made by each and everyone of you.”

Critics say Gono’s term as central bank governor spawned inflation topping 231 million percent.

But his backers say he saved Zimbabwe from total economic collapse through sanctions busting, morphing the central bank into a strong and independent institution. 

Gono said he succeeded in some areas of his assignments more than he did in others “but that is not for me to say.”

“All I can say for now is that I depart a very happy person in terms of discharging the mandate given to me by His Excellency the President, Cde R.G. Mugabe in November, 2003 and that of defending the country’s sovereignty and economic interests at Zimbabwe’s time of greatest need and when the economic attacks against the country were at their gravest,” Gono said.

“Some countries that have faced a quarter of the challenges and dangers we faced are on their knees with riots galore and unending changes in their government administrations and untold suffering worse than we experienced or are experiencing.

“I want to thank you all, individually and collectively, for all your love, loyalty, support and cooperation in the formulation of strategy and execution thereof over the years in discharging the above mandate even though some choose to forget what we all went through to remain standing.

“You all made my leadership role and task much easier than it would have been had you chosen to do otherwise. You all enriched my experiences and deepened my resolve and conviction in many spheres of  my life.”

Gono said he was human.

“Like any mortal being, I was not perfect,” he said.

“I was not and am not a Saint. I urge all of you to pick up the batons of excellence, determination, hard work and fortitude where I am leaving and to run with them for the betterment of our economy in particular and country in general until we meet again one day.

He said he was ending his 10-year tour of duty on his 54th birthday “and just as I was taken home immediately after birth, I am going home to my family and friends today after completing a successful tour of duty or could it be that I am joining the ‘jobless market?’ Only time will tell.”

A businessman of note, he did not state what he will be up to after the expiry of his term.

“In Catholic terms, my going represents ‘black smoke coming out from the 22nd and 23rd floors of the RBZ’ as when a Pope passes on or retires. When a new, substantive one is elected or appointed, the same chimneys emit ‘white smoke’ in celebration.

“Unfortunately, no white smoke yet! That is for His Excellency the President, on the advice of the minister, to ignite.”

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