Gideon Gono Granted Immunity In New Reserve Bank Act
Harare, Zimbabwe, 20 November 2009Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Gideon Gono, has been granted immunity from prosecution on any actions "taken in good faith" in the revised Reserve Bank Act passed by Parliament this week.That is right, he gets away scot-free.ZANU PF, Mugabe's party, had threatened to defeat the Amended Act if Tendai Biti, Finance Minister, refused to amend his amendments. The ZANU PF caucus in the House breathed fire on Tuesday this week, saying the Bill as presented by Biti was aimed at a person and not at institutional reform.It is now clear that they wanted to protect Gono from any action that could arise if his past behaviour was held up to the mirror of the new law.Some of the other amendments agreed to by Biti was a curtailing of the powers that had been to give by the original proposed Act. The requirement for the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance to sit on the board of the Reserve Bank has also been scrapped.It means the parent ministry will have no one on the ground looking out for the interests of the State. Which is how ZANU PF want it, apparently.Gono was very much afraid that he could be hauled before the courts for his previous activities. The fears he has were heightened when, during his first presentation of the amended Bill to parliament, Biti said that Gono's actions were illegal and was done in deliberate spite of the law.When you put this against the election-time speech Tendai Biti gave at a rally calling for Gono "to be put before a firing squad", his allegation (publicly) that Gono was Al Qaeda and a terrorist, then you understand even more why ZANU PF and Gono were so jittery about Biti moves to cut the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor down to size.One would have expected Tendai Biti to fight the pressure and not curve in. What happened to principle?They call what they have done with Gono immunity. It is not. It is impunity.And there's an end to the matter.So, one wonders, all the Governors who come after this will only have to plead "good faith" to escape prosecution for crimes committed against the population of Zimbabwe, for violating their rights, for sponsoring their misery?And who measures this "good faith"? How? Would it be enough for the Governor to simply act surprised when his hand is found in the cookie jar and answer, "Well, I didn't mean anything by it. I intended to give the money away to old people and widows."?It is a Right Royal Mess, isn't it.Which brings us to an important question: If it is so easy for the MDC to curve on matters of principle, on matters that directly touch the heart of the economic recovery and survival of Zimbabwe, what are they even doing pretending to be an opposition party?What makes them better than ZANU PF is they can now extend this sort of shield to ZANU PF criminals without asking even for contrition and an apology. At the very least?Impunity breeds arrogance. And that is what we are now going to see. The subordinate, Gideon Gono, has managed to dominate his superior, the Minister of Finance, who has given in without a fight?What authority will he have over the man going forward. If he dares cross him again, the man will simply wheel out his defenders in ZANU PF and Biti will run for hills?This is not compromise, which what Biti will try to tell us. It is capitulation at the most fundamental level.The fighting spirit has gone from the soul of the MDC. They have given up. On me. On you.On us.