Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono says he was forced to print Zimbabwe dollars which led to record hyperinflation to forestall a coup by hungry soldiers.
According to the Standard, Gono , who headed the central bank from 2003 to 2013, said the “coup” which finally took place last year in November could have been much earlier.
“If we had not done what we did printing money and allowing inflation to skyrocket, then the men and women you see in those beautiful uniforms, they were ready to get out of their barracks,” he was quoted as saying.
Addressing a business conference in Chinhoyi, Gono said: “Operation Restore Legacy would have happened much earlier, but not one that we would have been commanding ourselves.
“It would have been a ‘restore legacy’ that would have been commanded from elsewhere. I had the privilege to come face-to-face with hungry men and women in uniform.
“I had the privilege to visit each and every barrack in this country to come face-to-face with hunger, hunger that was affecting men and women who have nothing else but their AKs; men and women who, if we did not do what we did, could have been tempted to get out and look for some food by whatever means.
“I was given a car, which did not have fuel and expected to get to a certain destination. You drive on empty. Ours was not an ordinary situation, ours couldn’t be compared to any other country or any other situation,” he said.
“Any attempt to get money was met with blockages. Faced with a situation that we were in, we chose to allow inflation to go the way it went as long as we preserved the lives of our people.”