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Gideon Gono economical with the truth

By Stancilus Makotore

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono’s latest unpleasant utterances that his Bank lacked the capacity to pay off retrenched workers not only displays the highest form of deceitfulness by the Bank but also exposes Gono as a slimy character and the RBZ as an awfully bad corporate citizen.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono with workers retrenched by the bank
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono with workers retrenched by the bank

Gono loves play-acting and whenever he gets a chance, especially before cameras and notebooks, he likes being economical with the truth to buttress the little that is left of his personal credibility.

So when Gono says his Bank does not have the capacity to pay the retrenched workers, he is unfortunately trying to sound like a good, caring Governor, in the process, hoodwinking the nation into feeling sorry for him – that he is a good hearted Governor ominously seized with a difficult situation.

But those of us who have worked with him know that he only cares for himself – which explains why he is still holed up at the Bank when the majority of the workers were made to join the grimy ranks of the unemployed.

The cold and un-transparent manner in which Gono has presided over the retrenchment exercise clearly demonstrates his lack of concern. If the truth be told, the ex-workers were heaved off the bank on the basis that they would be paid the remainder of their dues by end of June 2011.

Gono and his Bank disgustingly failed to honour this agreement confirming everyone affected’s worst worries that these tricksters knew from the beginning that they did not have the enough resources to fund their purge.

The question to ask then is, when Gono says there is no capacity to pay off workers now, when and where did he and his board think they were going to ‘grow” the funds when they made promises to the odd 1000+ hapless men and women. Isn’t this the highest form of unethical behaviour?

When the retrenchees protested and then contested Gono’s modus-operandi following the collapse of the agreed payment plan and demanded prompt payments through the courts, Gono’s Bank through its lawyers said under oath the Bank would offset the worker’s dues from income derived from the sale of the Bank’s non-core assets. It is in the public domain which assets the Bank has identified for disposal.

So far, the Bank has successfully disposed off two assets which include a part of Homelink and the entirety of Tractive Power Holdings. So why is the “good” Governor telling humankind that his Bank has no capacity to pay the workers? What does he want to do with the money from the disposal of the assets? Besides, Treasury has reliably provided him with money to fund this exercise.

To save his skin and himself, from an inglorious exit from the cookie-jar the Bank has been, Gono agreed to adopt the Government of National Unity and World Bank’s advised reformation of the Bank. Through this action, the retrenchment becomes the creation of government.

Tendai Biti, the Ministry of Finance as principals of the RBZ along with Gono become willing accomplices to this malice and therefore should equally shoulder responsibility for the exercise and should JUST please find the money to finance the retrenchment and bring closure to this matter. It is only fair.

It is such a shame that the ex-workers, whom no one now sympathizes with, worked their socks off under Gono’s era and some even lost lives working 24/7 executing many of Gono’s hare-brained projects – performed to stroke his twisted EGO as well as to please his incorrigible masters.

And yet nobody in government wants to come to the party for the workers in their moment of need, by ensuring they get their entitlements. When Gono says that he is troubled by the plight of the former workers, again, he is lying to the world – like he always does to look like a nice guy.

The same world should know that same Gono, as the CEO of the Bank has refused to meet AT ALL with the workers. He has refused to discuss their future, to entertain their grievances or tell how he intends to pay off what’s left of their packages.

The ex-workers are thus very surprised when the ‘good” Governor tells the workers and the nation, through newspapers that he is troubled by their plight, when he has spurned numerous efforts to dialogue with him. Once the workers left the Bank on that fateful day on January 31 2011, the “troubled” Governor turned his bank on them.

Another famed mistruth by the Governor is that the retrenched workers have been paid more than their former colleagues at the Bank including the Governor. Gono must not insult the workers with such unkind remarks. In the first instance, what is he comparing?

Comparing an unemployed person who has been receiving his package in bits and pieces with someone earning a very comfortable salary every month? The new RBZ salary structures effected at the time of the retrenchments indicate that the least paid person at the Bank has to date been paid way better than those retrenched and Gono knows that.

If Gono was really serious about paying off the workers, he would have done so a long time ago, for example, by adopting the retrenchment model used by Fidelity Printers and Refinery where all the workers identified for retrenchment did leave work until they were all fully paid – starting with the least paid.

Again, if Gono really cared for the workers, why can’t he convince government or argue for a once-off payment of the workers with the same gusto he pushed his irrational policies and agendas during his peak as the commanding Governor of the Central Bank.

In a world where overall strategic management of an organization is inseparable from the strategic management of stakeholder’s issues, the way the RBZ has handled the issue of ex-workers portray with a shadow of doubt bad corporate citizenry by an institution the sheer size and social standing of the Central Bank.

Stancilus Makotore is a former RBZ worker seriously aggravated and perturbed by Gono and the Bank’s conduct.

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