Gono, Tomana to stay: Mugabe

gono_tomanaHARARE Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe last week said he would never rescind the appointment of central bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana that his coalition partners say was done outside last years power-sharing agreement.

Mugabe who was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week, said the two men were appointed well before the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that he signed last September with former opposition MDC leaders Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara came into effect.

“I appointed (Gono) long before the (power-sharing) agreement had come into being . . . and the same with the attorney-general. And there’s nothing wrong that they have done,” Mugabe said.

“I don’t see any reason why they should be discharged and new people found to replace them. And so I have laid down my foot and said no, they will never be. You see, I won’t let them go.”

The MDC accuses Gono of exacerbating Zimbabwes economic crisis by ceaselessly printing money to fund Mugabes political programmes over the past five years and Tomana of presiding over the prosecution of rights and opposition activists.

Mugabe, who blames Zimbabwes spectacular economic decline over the past decade on sanctions Western countries led by former colonial power Britain and the United States (US), also said he was giving US President Barack Obama time to lift sanctions his predecessor George Bush imposed on Zimbabwe.

Western countries who accuse the 85-year-old leader of wrecking Zimbabwes once flourishing economy through mismanagement imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his ZANU PF party top brass in 2003 over allegations of undermining democracy and human rights.

Obama administration officials have given no indication they are considering lifting sanctions.

European Union (EU) officials who visited the southern African country this month said despite noting considerable achievements of the February unity government, the sanctions on Mugabe would remain in place until there was full implementation of the GPA and full restoration of human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

They said the EU also wanted to see more action towards implementation of the GPA before considering any normal development assistance to Zimbabwe.

But Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state have called on the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe, saying the unity government the 15-nation regional bloc helped set up had made significant progress in ending a devastating economic and political crisis in the southern African country.

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