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Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Reform Legislation Passes Senate, Heads for Signature

Chief Senate Whip Obert Gutu of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the Reserve Bank bill passed without any amendments, sending the legislation to President Robert Mugabe for his signature

Legislation for reform of the much-maligned Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe sailed through the country's Senate on Tuesday after legislators of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party dropped 10 proposed amendments that had threatened the bill.

Chief Senate Whip Obert Gutu of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the Reserve Bank bill was passed without any amendments.

Gutu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that ZANU-PF abandoned the proposed amendments due to dissatisfaction among some of its legislators with the way RBZ Governor Gideon Gono has run the bank.

He said a few days before the Senate resumed sitting, he was approached by Senator Damian Mumvuri of Mt. Darwin Constituency who told him that ZANU-PF had decided to abandon its proposals to amend the bill.

In return, the MDC withdrew a proposal to remove a provision in the new legislation that would have given Gono and other senior central bank officials immunity for actions taken under the previous administration, in particular so-called quasi-fiscal activities in which the RBZ bankrolled the Mugabe government.

“The bill passed through Senate in exactly the same format it was approved by the House of Assembly a few months ago,” Gutu said.

Gutu, who sits on the Parliamentary Legal Committee, noted that “technically this means that President Mugabe has to sign the bill so that it becomes law.”

Led by ZANU-PF legislator Monica Mutsvangwa, the former ruling party since December has threatened to attach at least 10 amendments to the bill saying that the House-approved draft gave more powers to Finance Minister Tendai Biti than Gono.