Caution over new RBZ boss

John Mangudya is the new Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), succeeding Gideon Gono who retired in December after 10 years at the helm.

Paul Bogaert
Paul Bogaert

His CV, on the surface, looks impressive. He has worked at RBZ before and has had impressive exposure as a former regional manager for southern Africa at Afreximbank. He is a former board chair of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ), has led one of the leading local banks and has impeccable educational qualifications. He is thus well grounded in issues to do with banking and finance and is familiar with the RBZ terrain, to some extent.

However, there is one big blight on his appointment, made by President Robert Mugabe, and that is Mangudya’s links with Gono. Despite his apparent professional visage and controversy-free background, he worked under Gono at CBZ Bank Limited as Group CEO. Gono has a very strong stake in CBZ – so Mangudya can be seen as a Gono’s erstwhile, or even current, protégée.

This gives rise to the inevitable inference that Mangudya might have been appointed to his new post to act as Gono’s proxy. One can be forgiven for assuming that Gono still enjoys a strong relationship with Mugabe and Zanu (PF).

Over the years he has never denied numerous reports that he is the president’s personal financial advisor. Just recently, it emerged that Gono, who did so well in oiling the Zanu (PF) machinery between 2000 and 2009, before the formation of Government of National Unity, is being positioned to become a Senator to replace the late Kumbirai Kangai in Manicaland province.

Some observers have already linked the attempt to catapult him to senatorship to the wider scheme of appointing him the Finance Minister. That would make Gono, once again, Mangudya’s direct boss. It needs to be remembered that a lot of controversy still dogs the former governor regarding the way in which he ran the central bank from December 2003 to the time he retired. Currently, Munyaradzi Kereke, who used to advise Gono, is trying to use the Constitutional Court to have the latter tried for alleged fraud and corruption.

It would always make sound sense to conclude that appointing someone beholden to Gono is an attempt to keep the lid on possible exposure of corruption at the RBZ and the likely prosecution of Gono. We only hope that Mangudya will not take too many ideas from Gono, for whom do not have fond memories after he raided several institutions’ foreign currency accounts and wiped out millions of dollars from hard-working people’s bank accounts.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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