I'm not on the run: Gono

HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono said yesterday he had no intention of fleeing the country and denied that he had gone into exile saying he was on a business trip in Egypt.

Within hours of the RBZ governor’s arrival in the Egyptian capital Cairo, his rivals back home claimed he was on the run.

But the central bank governor described as “nonsense” reports “alleging that I fled the country yesterday for Egypt in fear of assassination.”

“Many  in my circle of operation know that every quarter I attend a board meeting of the African Export Import Bank headquartered in Cairo and my current visit  to the Egyptian capital  for that purpose this quarter is or was no exception,” Gono told the Daily News in a statement from Cairo.

“These business meetings and trips are planned well in advance and my principals and family at home are in the know about my whereabouts and why.

“Any other story suggesting otherwise is the usual fiction that is sometimes written about me. Just disregard it.”

Gono has fiercely resisted the indigenisation of banks resulting in the RBZ governor coming under attack from some Zanu PF politicians while others  using social media, have described him as a “baboon” and a “thief”.

Social media has also been used to make accusations that Gono stole 400 ounces of gold coins.

“When I get home, I shall also deal with the grand misinformation to do with the so called ‘missing gold-coins from the central bank’ that have hogged the limelight for some time now but more viciously, over the past few days,” Gono said.

“As governor, such names as ‘baboon’ have been used to describe my conduct in the alleged disappearance of the 403,5 ounces of gold made up of these coins under my watch.

“I normally do not lose sleep over or respond to matters of this nature especially because the false accusation was first sensationally raised by my former advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke last year and I have sued him for defamation and libel.”

Gono last September filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against his former aide Kereke claiming he made false statements that tarnished his reputation.

The suit in the High Court claims Kereke’s allegations that Gono stole cars, gold bullion, shares and public funds — including $6,5 million to purchase a real estate — were made with the intention to harm Gono and injure his reputation.

“Thus the matter is still subjudice,” Gono said.

“I will consult my principals and legal counsel if I could be allowed to deal with, and respond to this matter as an exception given that the legal wheels to this case are yet to turn.

“People need to know if their governor ‘helped himself’ to this phenomenal quantum of resources and I think it is only fair that they be told the truth and not be left to speculate.”

“Previous governors before and after independence indeed left this heritage of gold coins intact in the central bank and I shall do the same when my time is up.

“Those governors still alive today could be wondering what Governor Gono did with those gold coins, some dating back to 1885 while the departed ones must be turning in their graves with concern.”

“I owe both categories of governors and Zimbabweans in general an answer despite my usual stance not to respond to every provocation from personalities that have dark and troubled childhoods and histories of inconsistency most of which have remained hidden to the world but reflect in their daily  behaviours to the  surprise and chagrin of those not in the know.” - Gift Phiri, Political Editor

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