Mugabe and Gono Kept Biti In The Dark On IMF Funds
Tendai Biti was unaware of the transfer of funds from the IMF to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe this week. He was only told of it after independent newspapers started sniffing around, calling Gideon Gono to confirm the story. The papers also spoke to the Finance Ministry who were in the dark about all this. And now it is also being alleged that some of teh money had already been "disbursed" and that this is on "the president's orders".
Harare, Zimbabwe, 06 September 2009
It now emerges that Robert "The Solution" Mugabe and Gideon Gono kept quiet about the US$400 million from the IMF for four days, not telling any of the MDC ministers, including Tendai Biti, that the money had been deposited into the Reserve Bank account.
At the same time, it is also being alleged that some of the money has already been "disbursed" on the "president's authority".
Gono was only forced to admit to the fact that he already had the money after the IMF itself released a statement stating this, some days after they had deposited the money with Gideon Gono's Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
First indications came from alert international workers in South Africa. The Zimbabwe Independent picked up the story and tried to confirm it with the government. Gno, however, refused to confirm that the money had been given to him and Tendai Biti's ministry officials were unaware of the development.
When the Independent started making its inquiries, Gono who, as I have previously told you, works very well with George Charamba, immediately moved to ensure that the Independent did not carry a local scoop on the story the next day, Friday.
The Herald was alerted. Charamba saw and Gono decided that if the story came out in the Independent, it would appear as though the money had been sourced by Tendai Biti and the MDC, thereby giving the MDC an image boost and strengthening their image.
Gono who, only a couple of hours before, had been refusing to say anything to the Independent about the money, suddenly poured his heart out to The Herald, couching his statement in language that took a dig at Tendai Biti and flaunted what he said was "confidence" expressed by the IMF in his (Gono's) ability to handle and administer "developmental funds."
The Independent led with the story on Friday, as did The government-owned Herald.
But the Independent story had no confirmation from either Gono or Biti. The Herald story, on the other hand, carried confirmation that the money had arrived and quoted only Gono as he spoke at length, praising himself and urging Tendai Biti to be "above the politics of personalities" and deal with the Reserve Bank Governor to decide how the money is to be spent.
But it is the allegation that some of the money had already left the account that is now raising eyebrows.
I am told that Tendai Biti's statement to the international media that Zimbabwe would not accept the money is designed to put Gono and Mugabe in a spot of bother.
They can not return the money with some US$30 million of it missing, if indeed that money has already been "disbursed".
Biti knows that there is no chance of the money being returned.
Already, the President's office is saying that this shows that the MDC is working for regime change and that they do not want the economy to recover at all, since this is their weapon against ZANU PF.
It will be a propaganda gift to Mugabe and his men and they will use the Herald to great effect this coming week. Tsvangirai and the MDC will almost certainly be painted as spoilers with the sentiments expressed today by the president's office being played.
These include the fact that Biti has called for lines of credit to be given to Zimbabwe by South African and bodies like the African Bank, so he can not now refuse this money on the basis that it carries with it interest that will have to be paid back, because the other lines of credit also have to be paid back with interest, small though they may be.
But I suppose the real story here is that ZANU PF has managed to play politics with this money. Their intention was for Gono to announce the facility from the IMF, in order to embarrass the MDC and make it appear to the people as though the IMF trusted Gono after all and it was only Biti and Tsvangirai who were against the Governor.
This is also being done with an eye to the SADC Summit where I can assure you Mugabe is again to tell the leaders that Gono has done no wrong, not stolen anything and that the fact that the IMF has just handed him money shows that they trust him.
This development just goes to show that we have no "Inclusive Government" in Zimbabwe. It exists only in name now. Both parties distrust each other deeply and now it emerges that they are keeping secrets from each other even on matters that should be non-partisan, like the IMF funds.