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Ex-governor Gono mourns “fine and seasoned banker” Douglas Munatsi

By Dr Gideon Gono

It is with great sadness that my family and I mourn the untimely death of a fine, seasoned banker and patriotic son of the soil, Douglas Munatsi in tragic circumstances not yet explained to the Nation.

I knew Doug from the late eighties when he was part of your merchant bankers at the then Syfrets Merchant Bank, a part of Zimbank Group then, now ZB Bank and what a bright mind he was in the community of bankers!

Doug was to play an advisory role to me as I was deciding whether or not to leave the Zimbabwe Development Bank then, now IDBZ for CBZ in December 1994 and I remember him impressing on me to join the then distressed Bank of Credit & Commerce( BCCI) which had collapsed and the Zimbabwean entity needed someone to turn it around.

Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor
Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor
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I had come out tops in interviews and psychometric tests done by Price Waterhouse Coopers then but was reluctant to take the job. Doug took my MBA dissertation (which had earned a first class pass mark from UZ) to the then Acting Minister of Finance and Economic Development who at that time was none other than the current President, Cde EDM (Emmerson Mnangagwa) who later invited me to his offices at Parliament Building to talk to me about the job and Government’s turnaround expectations of the Bank.

After the talk from Cde ED, I went for the job but it was all Doug’s doing. My career would probably have been quite different to what it is today had it not been for Douglas Munatsi. He obviously never wanted this talked about but today I can open-up to it.

Always a cheerful young-brother to me, he was later to brief me about his desire to start a Merchant Bank of his own, Heritage which then bought into RAL Merchant Bank of the time and in no time he formed ABC Bank which later grew into a formidable regional Bank under the name Banc ABC.

During my ten-year tenure as Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, BancABC was one of my least headaches as it was always well-run and exemplary in many respects, impressively ticking all corporate-governance boxes without a stretch of pretense.

When he became head of the Investment arm on Government, The Zimbabwe Investment Agency (ZIDA) which replaced the Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority (Zimseza) whose administrative formation I had chaired for three years, we exchanged notes a great deal in terms of the way forward and one of those initiatives was our desire to form The Zimbabwe Association of Special Economic Zones (Ziasez) which would be a grouping of all companies accorded Special Economic Zone status in terms of the country’s laws for purposes of championing investment into those zones.

This was meant to happen in 2022!

Now with him gone, it is my hope that the initiative he had wanted us to spearhead will not die with him. I pledge to do whatever it takes to ensure that SEZ investors and operators form that association through which we can speak with one voice and promote the country’s deck of economic opportunities across the board together with ZIDA.

Doug was also not just a young brother and banker to me but our farms share boundaries in Norton and he was such an incredible seed maize, potatoes, barley and wheat grower in addition to being a prolific cattle farmer…

When people talk of a loss to the Nation, Doug is such a loss and on behalf of The Zimbabwe Association of Special Economic Zone Investors and Operators (still to be formed), I want to express our heartfelt condolences to His Excellency the President Cde ED Mnangagwa, Vice President Dr C G N Chiwenga, the Munatsi Family, relatives, friends, bankers and all who knew him.

May His Departed Soul Rest in Eternal Peace.”

Go well Youngman, hamba kuhle, Famba zvakanaka mningina.

Mkoma Dr G Gono

Your Mentor and Fmr Governor: RBZ and owner, investor and operator: Lenstloane & Ecosoft Special Economic Zones, Harare.