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Gono Exclusive: Former Governor Bares Soul, Leaks Intimate Details

After going mute for a while, former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono has finally opened up on the behind the scenes, tag o...

After going mute for a while, former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono has finally opened up on the behind the scenes, tag of war games orchestrated by now jailed ex-advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke, who is serving a lengthy term for raping minor at gunpoint. 

Q: It’s almost two weeks since Dr Kereke apologised to you for hurting and harming your character and reputation through falsehoods that painted you as a very corrupt person who looted millions of funds from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe during your tenure as Governor. Why has it taken you this long to respond? The issue of forgiveness is covered extensively in the Bible … (interruption)

A: Listen, listen , listen young man (visibly irritated); don’t come here to patronise me or try to show off your Bible knowledge. You cannot start this interview, by lecturing to me on deadlines and timeframes or moralising a humongous iniquity perpetrated against me for five years and you expect me to drop everything else and run to give you a response.

You come here trying to make me feel guilty for not quickly rushing to respond. I hope that you are not going to misquote me because while to you this is just another story, to me this is a matter of life and death …
Dr Gono 

Q: Sure doc, I see the gravity of the matter. Is this how much this whole Kereke-saga has hurt you?

A: Well, let me answer you by quoting from Shakespeare: “A good name in man and woman, dear lord, is the immediate jewel of their souls. (He) who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; … ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; … But he that filches from me my good name, robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed…”

This passage in Othello explains that to filch from someone his good name is a much more serious crime than stealing his purse. Honour is an essential possession, something that can belong to you and you only. Your money, on the other hand, is mere trash.

MH: Yes doc, I fully understand. We are not putting pressure on you. We are just saying many people didn’t think you would take this long to respond?

A: You come here to talk and complain of just two weeks that I have taken to consider the impact of Kereke’s statement and that’s supposed to be a catastrophe? Come on be serious! Just Google my name and see …What comes up is not the history of my 40 years of working to date but false corruption scandals.

I was in Kenya recently following up on some funding. I was almost arrested when there was a mix-up of personalities exacerbated by a quick Google check that showed I was scandal-ridden. Fortunately somebody intervened on my behalf and vouched for the innocence of my presence and trip there. That’s how damaged goods my name had become prior to Dr Kereke’s retraction and apology.

Q: Oh is that so? Sorry to hear about that. Now do you forgive Dr Kereke?

A: My friend, it’s not for me alone to forgive him. His lies did hurt many people around me from family to friends and workmates, including my former bankers some of whom could be heard in their boardrooms agitating for the foreclosure of my loan facilities and displaying amazing hostility towards me and my family, and taking even my 12-year-old son to court for scandal-ridden-dad’s sins.

Q: Did it go that far? I’m sure our publication of Dr Kereke’s public apology and your response will help?

A: Well, since when did you or your stable last cover me positively let alone find it worthy to come and talk to me? Isn’t you all took positions as did many others in favour of your former board member Kereke and chose his corner, together with ZBC-TV whose blatant hatred of me since I left the RBZ found expression in hurrying to publish falsehoods without even attempting to check the other side of the story?

Q: In our profession we normally don’t talk about colleagues in other media establishments … (interruption).

Dr Gono: No, no, no. There should be no sacred cows here. Do you recall their screaming headlines against me each time Kereke made accusations? Do you recall the publication at most prime times throughout this saga, and one report they did on 12 December 2013 on the eve of the Zanu-PF Conference in Chinhoyi? And several others?

Come on, what are you talking about, trying to gag me for complaining about their unprofessional conduct towards me? You just don’t understand the gravity of this development; that’s why you are all over trying to cover this one and that one. Unless you have the patience to understand where I’m coming from, let’s stop this interview right now.

Q: No, no, no. I was not trying to do a PR job for our colleagues at ZBC-TV. I was just saying maybe they should come and talk to you and you air your grievances directly to them …

A: Anyway, lest we digress from why you are here. Let me give you and your readers some background and refresh your memories. And by the way, I was out of the country when this story broke, so I have not delayed with my response. Your diary and deadlines are for you and your bosses at The Sunday Mail, not me. I don’t work for Zimpapers.

Q: There is really no need for all this. You need to calm down. We are only trying to establish if you have accepted your former advisor’s apology and plea for forgiveness. Has he really withdrawn all the cases that he had filed at the courts accusing you of one misdemeanor after another?

A: For the record, I only got to know last week that Dr Kereke has all along, since October, 2016, been seeking, through his lawyers, to communicate and engage with me. I wasn’t aware of those overtures until a letter was delivered to my home by his first wife and his only wife that I know, on 16 January, 2017.

The letter was surprisingly cordial in its contents and had dearie messages to me and my family, wishing us all compliments of the season and blessings throughout our lives. I was taken aback by such cordiality and started to ask where this was coming from and why, when in fact, we had never met or spoken since 2012.

Q: Is that so?

A: Yes, that’s the position. Dr Kereke’s wife revealed that a number of letters of apology and pleas for reconciliation, accompanied by withdrawals of all his cases against me at the courts had been done and that some were already in the process of being withdrawn. I was told that the withdrawals were being done as a sign of goodwill and out of his own volition partly to clear his own conscience and secondly to show the new, born-again Kereke that he now was.

It was revealed that all these processes had been attended to by his lawyers, with copies forwarded to my own lawyers – not Tendai Biti by the way – and that Dr Kereke had even sent me birthday wishes on the eve of my 29 November birthday. But none of all these overtures had met with any acknowledgement or response from me and he wondered why.

I was very surprised to hear all these developments and sought copies of all the alleged correspondence from my lawyers. It turned out that my lawyers had overlooked passing those letters and case withdrawals to me.

Q: And when you finally saw the letters what did you do?

A: Before I could entertain any further contact with Dr Kereke and his family, I demanded a public apology through the same channels or platforms that he had used to propagate his falsehoods in the first place if indeed he was sincere.

Q: But Dr Kereke told me that you had cleared the grey areas by communicating through your lawyers and at family level?

A: The answers or responses he attributes to me in his apology are a matter of public record. My 7 February, 2014 answering affidavits and heads of argument filed as part of my response papers to the courts, (Case No CCZ 120/2013 comprising of 788 pages), which responses were also delivered to his lawyers in 2014, and dealt with all his allegations blow by blow may have enlightened him a lot.

Therefore I can only surmise, deduce or speculate without evidence that maybe he only got time to read my 2014 responses now and realised that he was seriously off the mark when he made those allegations in the first place.

Q: So have you seen those case withdrawals in person and are you satisfied that they are genuine since you guys seem to have what one can call trust issues?

A: Had I not seen actual date-stamped evidence of Dr Kereke’s court withdrawals to all his fictitious cases against me, I would not be entertaining this interview with you or anyone for that matter. My little knowledge of the law would have told me to stay clear of discussing anything before the courts. I think the learned ones refer to it as the principle of sub judice.

Q: In the same vein, I recall you had filed two defamation of character cases in 2012, one for US$25 million and the other for US$20 million as a protestation of what we now know were false accusations. Have you withdrawn these cases and if so, when and what got you to withdraw the cases before trial?

A: Your biggest problem is that you lump too many questions under one subheading and that tends to confuse simpleminded people like me; but let me try to answer you logically and factually. Number one, I have already said that I only learnt of the case withdrawals last week and I was out of the country.

Two, I have yet to meet my lawyers for advice in respect of that development and if it was my wish, I would echo Kereke’s sentiments and let bygones be bygones regardless of the expense I went into and anguish suffered in the process.

But then, this matter, like I said, has ceased to be a Gideon Gono matter alone. There are those many who have stood by me throughout this ordeal and that includes not just my family but many people across church, social, business, labour and the political divide. I also have to seek guidance from these people and once I am done with my phone calls, I will sit down with my lawyers and give them instructions.

But I do not see any of these respected personalities urging me to do otherwise than withdraw and forgive. My former workmates in the Reserve Bank also deserve a call from me.

Q: Ok. Do you remember, what were Dr Kereke’s last words to you in 2012 when you last spoke?

A: Dr Kereke’s parting words to me in February, 2012 were “be guaranteed of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) as a reward for what you have done to me”. I did not know what he had in mind through his MAD strategy except that it surely became a real “MAD-man’s” show which ended in a self-destruction.

Q: In all that Dr Kereke did to tarnish your image and assassinate your character under this so-called MAD strategy, at whose behest or who do you think was behind his machinations?

A: Well, I don’t think there was anyone behind him. He was just a bitter lone ranger. Of course many theories of association have been bandied around but I have no proof of such outside influence and if there was, I can’t say.

As far as I am concerned Dr K, as we affectionately called him, was on a one-sided MAD strategy playing with people’s minds and emotions around topical subjects like corruption to achieve the destructive part of his strategy. You see, Huni, with corruption charges, proof is the last in a sequence of events that tarnish people’s images.

Often public perception is so quickly influenced by sensationalism and the process towards securing justice is painfully slow. Having false allegations hanging over someone for five years is a little too much to bear. It invites political speculation. I was never afraid of investigations by any competent authority as my documentation was all there and in order. - Sunday Mail

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