Gono: Things that could not be said


HARARE – A successful life or career is measured by the amount of enemies or the controversies that one is associated with.

In fact it remains a paradox that the few successful among us are men and women who court societal controversy the most, but they are not deviants.

The man they call Gideon Gono or “GG” is by no means a saint, but a pragmatic realist who tried the best he could under what he called “extraordinary solutions to extraordinary circumstances”.

He was able to create a love and hate relationship with different segments of society.

Those who loved him wanted him to do some things on their behalf while those who loathed him were mostly outlaws and vampires masquerading as genuine bankers whose sole mission was to defraud the trusting and unsuspecting banking public.

Those who used unorthodox means, possessed by the “I want to grow a mango and reap the fruits today” demon found Gono to be a Moreno Ocampo looking for bad attitude and rogue leaders to take them to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Many people joined the seemingly intelligent and popular “Gono must go” mantra without putting much thought to such slogans. Perhaps they needed time to think and really say what sin real or perceived did this man commit. His sin was seeing and thinking in different ways.

During the period of hyperinflation, Gono was both the alpha and the omega.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) occupied a central role in all economic affairs of the country with the sole aim of launching a springboard for future economic growth.

This is what most people did not see very clearly and most of them were just fond of launching endless brick bats at Gono.

It is this far-fetched vision that was missed by many of his supposed partners who seemed to fold their hands when the baton was being handed to them.

At a critical and desperate times that the country was in, could one stand up and say they could have done things better under those circumstances?

It does not make sense to imagine what could have been done but what Gono did was absolutely correct because he did it with good intentions.

Whether it worked out or not, intention is what matters.

Gono weathered the storm and pushed his programmes in a way that was envied by his critics.

Gono realised that for an economy to grow, the physical infrastructure needed attention.

This explains why funds were availed to local authorities to upgrade the infrastructure and provide better services.

Parastatals were also supported so that they could perform their role as economic enablers; food security was also prioritised with various interventions such as the farm mechanisation and revival of irrigation schemes.

All these and many other programmes that RBZ did were meant to eventually leapfrog the economy.

The sad part of all this work is that when the programmes fail because of poor implementation beyond the originator’s control, then all the blame goes back to the originator.

Gono cannot be faulted for empowering those who called themselves farmers with implements and inputs when they chose not to farm.

As the curtain draws down, Gono should stand tall with pride and should never regret anything that he did because he thought it was the best and indeed everyone can learn and unlearn from his actions.

Perhaps, what troubled him most was the fact that each time he slashed zeros they came back with a vengeance.

With the current liquidity crisis and a dangerous plunge into deflation, the new governor should measure up and have an innovative mind such as that exhibited by Gono.

Will the next governor be able to steer the economy in better ways and have his name on Zimbabwean bank notes?

Whoever it’s going to be, expectations are always going to be high.

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