Rifts within the ruling ZANU-PF party are widening ahead of the party’s national conference early next month as insiders report Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, widely perceived as a favorite of the president, has been pulled into the brawl.
Some cabinet members and ruling party members of parliament regard Gono as a potential presidential contender in 2008, and are agitating for him to resign. Various parliamentary committees have asked him to come and explain his policies against a backdrop of continued recession and inflation running at an annual 1,070%.
But ZANU-PF member for Makonde Leo Mugabe, chairman of the transport and communications committee, told VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Gono has asked ZANU-PF chief whip Joram Gumbo’s parliamentary coordination committee to set up a joint session so he can brief members of several committees at the same time
Ruling party sources said Gono wants to avoid grilling by unfriendly parliamentarians. Last week he was summoned before the National Economic Recovery Council chaired by Vice President Joyce Mujuru and an extraordinary cabinet meeting presided over by President Robert Mugabe over the recent importation of substandard fertilizer.
Political analyst Sydney Masamvu of the International Crisis Group in South Africa said ZANU-PF is divided into three camps ahead of its annual conference: one aligned with Mujuru, another to her rival and presidential aspirant Emmerson Mnangagwa, and the third, including Gono, comprising confidants and loyalists of President Mugabe.
Speaking up in his own defense, Gono recently told the Standard newspaper that unnamed cabinet members were “grandstanding and deliberately misrepresenting facts” in an attempt to smear him ahead of ZANU-PF conference.
Economist John Robertson remarked to reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Gono's ouster would do nothing to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis.