- Gideon Gono
name =Gideon Gono
caption =Gono after presenting a monetary policy statement to the
Parliament of Zimbabwe, 2008.
office =Governor, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
29 November 1959
birth_place = flag|Rhodesia and Nyasaland
nationality = flagicon|Zimbabwe
spouse = Hellen Mushanyuri Gono
residence = Harare, Zimbabwe
University of Zimbabwe
occupation = Governor of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Gideon Gono (born
November 29 1959) is the current Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe(RBZ) and former CEO of the Jewel Bank, formerly known as the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe. [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200706240121.html "Zimbabwe: 'Mugabe downfall within six months'"] , "Zimbabwe Standard", June 24, 2007] [ [http://www.kubatana.net/html/archive/opin/050819iz.asp?sector=OPIN "Gideon Gono, Mugabe's new political tool"] , Kubatana.net, August 19, 2005 (accessed 02/08/2008)] Rapid expansion of the money supply on his watch has been blamed for contributing to Zimbabwe's hyperinflation. [ [http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2007/02/hyperinflation-in-zimbabwe.html "Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe"] and cites therein, Greg Mankiw's Blog (accessed 05/24/2008)]
He started his career with government owned
ZimBank, before moving to the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe. He was appointed by Professor Jonathan Moyoto head the University of ZimbabweCouncil where he quickly awarded himself with an honorary degree. During this time, he was the personal banker of Robert Mugabe, up until he was appointed as governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Reserve Bank Governorship
Results of policies
After taking over the governorship of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gono implemented a host of highly-criticized policies. The main criticism comes from the apparent failure of his policies to reverse the economic decline of Zimbabwe. Since he became governor, there have been a number of problems: [ [http://www.zimbabwegazette.com/the-news/opinion/to-dr.-gideon-gono:-the-truth-20080204229.html "TO DR. GIDEON GONO: The Truth"] , "The Zimbabwe Gazette", February 4, 2008]
*fuel and food scarcity, shortages in agriculture [Price Cuts [*Shortages in agriculture,] (accessed 02/08/2008)] [ [http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-146441296.html "Roundup: Zimbabwe fights fuel crisis"] , Xinhua News Agency, May 31, 2006 (accessed 02/08/2008)] [ [http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/411749/837163 "Zimbabwe imports wheat"] , TVNZ, September 27, 2006 (accessed 02/08/2008)]
Operation Murambatsvina, which some say was funded by the RBZ [http://www.sokwanele.com/articles/sokwanele/insheepsclothing_8june2005.html "Gideon Gono “… in sheep’s clothing” : The Role of the RBZ Governor in Murambatsvina"] , Sokwanele, June 8, 2005 (accessed 02/08/2008)]
*businessmen have been arrested by the police and army under Gono's orders [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200608071376.html Monetary Policy] , AllAfrica, August 7, 2006 (subscription required) (accessed 02/08/2008)]
Zimbabweanshave become fugitives or have languished in prison, notably Mutumwa Mawere, James Makamba, July Moyo, Philip Chiyangwaand David Batau[ [http://www.nehandaradio.com/zimbabwe/mawere/mawerebutau040108.html "Unpacking the Butau-Gono Forex and Cash scandal"] , Nehanda Radio, January 4, 2008 (accessed 02/08/2008)]
*the highest inflation in the world and unemployment and the collapse of the health, education and agriculture sectors. [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200702010679.html Alice in Wonderland] , AllAfrica, February 1, 2007 (subscription required)]
Zimbabwe Dollar and inflation
Gono has printed money against the advice of economists, but with full support from Robert Mugabe. This practice has been blamed for devaluing the
Zimbabwean dollarand increasing inflation.
Gono demonetized old bank notes on August 1, 2006 and introduced a new currency. Each new Zimbabwe dollar was worth 1000 old Zimbabwe dollars. [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200608010325.html Slashes Zeros] , AllAfrica, August 1, 2006 (subscription required) (accessed 02/08/2008)] The highest denominations for the new currency were 1, 10, and 100 thousand revalued dollars. A year later on August 1, 2007, he authorized a 200 thousand dollar denomination. This marked the start of a series of new denominations issued in rapid succession, including 250, 500, and 750 thousand dollars (December 20, 2007); 1, 5, and 10 million dollars (January 16, 2008); 25 and 50 million dollars (April 4, 2008); 100 and 250 million dollars (May 5, 2008); and 500 million and 5, 10, and 50 billion dollars (May 20, 2008). From the time of currency revaluation to the beginning of June 2008 the money supply in the country has increased from $45 billion to more than $900 quadrillion, or a 20,000,000 fold increase.
Gono refuted media reports that claimed he was against price cuts that the government instituted to arrest inflation. As time went by, it became apparent that the RBZ had instituted price cuts that saw bare shelves in shops and many businesses closing. [ [http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-32957316_ITM "Gideon Gono: 'I'm not against price war'. (ZIMBABWE ECONOMY: The real story)"] , "New African", August 1, 2007] He has sent in the police to arrest businessmen for failing to reduce their prices. On one occasion, he personally visited shop owners in
Harareto demand they lower prices. [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200608140112.html No more mr. nice guy] , AllAfrica, August 14, 2006 (subscription required) (accessed 02/08/2008)] Despite these efforts, inflation in Zimbabwe remains the world's highest. [ [http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-10-18-780416427_x.htm "Zimbabwe inflation still soaring"] , "USA Today", October 18, 2007 (accessed 02/08/2008)] [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200802040901.html "Zimbabwe: November Annual Inflation Rises to 26 470,8pcndash CSO"] , "The Herald", February 4, 2008 (accessed 02/08/2008)]
Critics have noted that most of Gono's monetary policy statements in the past have had biblical references. Notably, he usually ends in policy statements to the Parliament of Zimbabwe thus: "In the Lord's hands, I commit this Monetary Policy Framework for our economic turnaround."
Banks and currency exchange
A number of banks have been raided and their operating licences cancelled. [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200607070007.html Gono Under fire] , AllAfrica, July 7, 2006 (subscription required) (accessed 02/08/2008)] [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/10/10/business/AF_FIN_ECO_Zimbabwe_Money_Woes.php "Central bank shuts down money transfer agencies in Zimbabwe"] , "International Herald Tribune", October 10, 2006 (accessed 02/08/2008)] [ [http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=68&art_id=qw1160427603376B252, "Gono shuts down money transfer agencies"] , Independent Online, October 10, 2006 (accessed 02/08/2008)] Critics blame Gono for closing 16 money transfer agencies. He has traded foreign currency on the black market, an activity he vowed to crush when he became governor of the bank. [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200702160376.html "Zimbabwe: President Backs Gono"] , "The Herald", February 16, 2007]
The governor has spearheaded the campaign to make the land reform program a success. As such, Gono has placed the RBZ at the forefront of fertilizer and machinery procurement. A number of scandals have come to light, especially with the procurement of fertilizer, that implicate Gono. [ [http://zimdaily.com/news/117/ARTICLE/1128/2006-11-23.html "From Whom Did Gono Buy the Fertilizer?"] , ZimDaily.com, November 23, 2006]
Backed by vice president
Joyce Mujuru, Gono has several times called for an end to farm takeovers in a bid to stabilise agricultural production and halt inflation. Gono's criticism of farm takeovers is in sharp contrast to statements made by other ministers, including Lands Minister Didymus Mutasa.
In an interview with the state-controlled "The Herald" newspaper, he said, "I have openly condemned such retrogressive acts as destruction of horticultural greenhouses, decimation of
tobaccobarns, institution of fresh farm invasions". [ [http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?art_id=qw1161595980815B252 "Friends want me dead, claims Zim bank chief"] , "Independent Online" , October 23, 2006] "There are too many subdivisions among us, too many contradictions, too much infighting among ourselves, incredible suspicion and mistrust of one another," Gono said.
Admission of failure
Gono has admitted that his efforts to rescue and improve the economy of Zimbabwe have failed. [ [http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/gono11.12660.html "Zimbabwe's central bank chief admits failure"] , New Zimbabwe.com, November 3, 2006 (accessed 02/08/2007)] Gono said there were several factors that were outside the central bank's control, which made it difficult to rein in inflation."Some of those factors are within the governor's control and influence while others such as politics, sanctions,
droughts, under-utilisation of farms, disruptions at those farms, rampant corruption, indiscipline, law and order are factors outside the governor's control," he said in an interview with "The Herald" newspaper. [ [http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/Zimbabwe/0,,2-11-1662_2019078,00.html "Zim losing inflation battle"] , "News24", October 23, 2006] He has also blamed the failure of the economy on sanctions imposed on the country, a charge critics dispute. [ [http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-6732964/Dr-Gideon-Gono-how-sanctions.html "Dr Gideon Gono: How Sanctions are ruining Zimbabwe"] , "African Business", June 1, 2007 (accessed 02/08/2008)]
Critics and civic leaders allege that Gono has kept his job as the governor mainly through Mugabe's patronage. Mugabe has not only shielded Gono from his critics, but has commended him in his activities as governor despite the extreme deterioration of the Zimbabwean economy. [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200607260551.html Leave Gono alone] , AllAfrica, July 26, 2006 (subscription required) (accessed 02/08/2008)] He had been Mugabe's banker for a long period before becoming governor of the RBZ. [ [http://zimreview.wordpress.com/2007/12/30/gideon-gonos-star-starting-to-fade/ "Gideon Gono’s star starting to fade"] , "Zimbabwe Review", December 30, 2007 (accessed 02/08/2008)]
Gono is banned from travelling to the
United Statesand EU member states because of his role in the controversial Zanu-PFgovernment of Zimbabwe. [ [http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/actions/20051123.shtml Recent OFAC Actions] , US Dept. of Treasury, November 23, 2005 (accessed 02/07/2008)] He was added to the EU's list of individuals subject to personal sanctions—a ban on travel to the EU and the freezing of any assets there—in July 2008, following the controversial 2008 presidential election, in which Mugabe was re-elected amidst serious political violence. [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/23/africa/AF-Zimbabwe-EU-Sanctions-Targets.php "EU targets in Zimbabwe sanctions: central bank governor, head of cricket, 2 reporters"] , Associated Press ("International Herald Tribune"), July 23, 2008.]
*Ankomah, Baffour. [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa5391/is_200708/ai_n21294053/pg_1 "Gideon Gono: 'Zimbabwe Will Not Die'"] , "New African", Aug/Sep 2007
*Thornycroft, Peta. [http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-10-07-voa27.cfm "New Zimbabwe Law Allows for Eviction of Remaining White Farmers"] , "Voice of America", October 7, 2006
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