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Zimbabwe Finance Minister Biti Stands Aloof From Bitter Reserve Bank Dispute

  • Gibbs Dube

Sources said Finance Minister Tendai Biti believes Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono should step down as his tenure is one of the issues that has divided the government since its formation

A feud between Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Reserve Bank Deputy Board Chairman Charles Kuwaza has deepened with Finance Minister Tendai Biti reportedly refusing to resolve the wrangle.

Kuwaza has accused Gono of engaging in corrupt activities and making unaccounted loans to officials of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe prior to the installation of the unity government. Sources said Biti believes Gono should step down as his tenure is one of the issues that has divided the government since its formation.

Neither Gono nor Kuwaza could be reached for comment.

Biti was also unavailable, but sources said Gono recently wrote to him asking his intervention in the feud with Kuwaza. Biti is said to have remarked to close associates that he would not step in to rescue Gono.

Economic commentator Prosper Chitambara told VOA reporter Gibbs Dube that Biti’s refusal to rescue Gono will further weaken the central bank, which has been recovering from financial distress under a new board.

“As long as there are clashes between Gono and Kuwaza, we cannot expect the RBZ to fully recover in order to play a crucial role in spearheading the country’s economic growth," Chitambara said.

Economist Rejoice Ngwenya said Gone should simply resign. “Everyone expected Gono to step down soon after the formation of the unity government [and] His departure is long overdue,” Ngwenya said.

Some sources said the Gono-Kuwaza feud is related to a long-standing power struggle inside ZANU-PF, to which both RBZ antagonists belong. Kuwaza is aligned with the faction led by Vice President Joyce Mujuru's husband, Solomon Mujuru; Gono has been linked to a faction loyal to Defense Minister Emmerson Munangagwa.

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