Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono has been slammed for saying he printed Zimbabwe dollars leading to record hyperinflation to prevent a coup by hungry soldiers.
Gono said Operation Restore Legacy which forced President Robert Mugabe out last year could have come much sooner if he had not printed money leading to condemnation that he was calling last year’s intervention a “coup”.
According to the Herald Gono was tarnishing the image of the military.
Gono was reported by the Standard on Sunday to have told a business conference in Chinhoyi that:
“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.
“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.”
Those interviewed by the Herald said Gono should have resigned if he was principled, instead of printing money and telling the nation that “failure was not an option”.