By Lance Guma
The former governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, played a key role in negotiations that saw President Robert Mugabe finally resign after 37 years in power.
In an exclusive interview with Nehanda Radio, Gono confirmed that a picture he claims was “maliciously” leaked showing him with Mugabe and former First Lady Grace Mugabe, was indeed taken on Tuesday 21 November, 2017 from the “Blue Roof” private mansion that belongs to the former First Family. This was just after Mugabe had resigned in a letter to the Speaker of Parliament.
“Whoever had leaked that one photo had ulterior motives but okay there you are!” Gono told us.
Gono insists the picture leaked was meant to push the narrative that Grace Mugabe was depressed when according to Gono “it was actually all smiles in the end.” The former central bank governor proceeded to provide Nehanda Radio with the full set of pictures taken from the mansion.
The pictures show Gono with Mugabe’s spokesman and Permanent Secretary in the Information Ministry George Charamba, Catholic priest Father Fidelis Mukonori and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Acting Director General Aaron Daniel Tonde Nhepera who also played a part in negotiations that led to Mugabe avoiding the embarrassment of a successful impeachment.
“These (pictures) were taken a short while after he had voluntarily decided to step down from Office for reasons stated in his letter to the Speaker of the House of Assembly on Tuesday,” Gono told us.
“This was the most sobre moment of my life and in the history of our country, to be there when that decision was taken in the interests of preserving, peace and saving lives against the alternative.
“Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans across the board and across the political divide, colour, creed, ethnicity and religion need healing at this stage of our lives more than at any other time in the history or future of our nation.
“There should be no room for retribution, vindictiveness or anything that takes our attention away from the ball. Few people in their lives will ever go through the trauma of witnessing your father and an icon of President Mugabe’s stature deciding to step down. It’s not something to be proud of. This situation should not and should never be repeated ever,” Gono told Nehanda Radio.
Asked why he ( Gono) went to assist the former president to negotiate his exit when he is not part of the ZANU ( PF) structures or government machinery for the purpose, Gono responded:
“People tend to run away from you when the chips are down and few will have the courage to stand by you during your darkest moments. I have experienced it personally before, when I retired from governorship in 2014 but I cannot be the evil that I don’t like to see happen to me.
“I’m not ashamed to say that I have remained loyal and a friend of the former President to the end, not for financial or commercial reasons but from a point of principle.
“Even with the incoming President, Cde E. D.Mnangagwa, when everyone deserted him in 2004/5 (alleged Tsholotsho coup), I am proud to state publicly that I was one of the few who fearlessly remained standing by him during those low moments in his political life and His Excellency the Former President, Cde R G Mugabe knew about it and never discouraged me from associating with him.
“So, issues of loyalty to me count a lot more in my life than political expediency or any form of gold, silver or opportunity. Those who are friends with me know that I will not waver on a day they need my umbrella,” Gono told Nehanda Radio.
Mugabe was forced to step down after 8 days of intense pressure following a military coup led by army general Constantine Chiwenga and an impeachment proceeding in parliament that was halted midway through when the 93-year-old eventually agreed to step down.
The former Vice President who was sacked by Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as the new president on Friday and is expected to finish Mugabe’s term in office up to a maximum of September 2018. Nehanda Radio