Have you ever noticed that Zimbabwe finances are being run by real finance people for the first time in years?


The turmoil in Zimbabwe may have camouflaged the fact that the country’s finances are for the first time in years being run by professionals, all former bankers with hands on experience in the private sector.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube had his own bank, Barbican, which was listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange but was closed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2005.

At the time of its closure, Ncube said the action by the central bank was excessive.

“I think the action taken against us was disproportionate and excessive,” Ncube told The Independent. “There are some banks which were exposed to over $100 billion but were said to be in a sound financial position. I don’t have the full facts of what happened but I’m still shocked, baffled, and confused about these events.”

Barbican Bank was bailed out to the tune of $6 billion by the RBZ.

Central bank governor John Mangudya was chief executive officer of CBZ bank, Zimbabwe’s largest commercial bank by assets.

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti last said last week Mangudya was literally running the country’s finances as CBZ was the government banker.

“Government accounts were kept at the CBZ who treated us like a commercial client. So, I couldn’t run an overdraft facility because John Mangudya would say ‘Minister you can’t do that’,” Biti told his audience.

Permanent Secretary George Guvamatanga was managing director of Barclays Bank Zimbabwe for nearly 10 years before he was booted out by the new owners who took it over from Barclays Bank Plc of the United Kingdom.

Though Mthuli Ncube and Guvamatanga have been in office for nine months now, and Mangudya is going into his sixth year, this might have escaped a lot of people’s attention.

Does this mean that the country’s finances are in good hands?

That is anybody’s guess.

The following are Zimbabwe’s finance ministers since independence:

  1. Enos Nkala (1980–1983)
  2. Bernard Chidzero (1983–1995)
  3. Ariston Chambati (1995-1995)
  4. Emmerson Mnangagwa (1995–1996) acting
  5. Herbert Murerwa (1996–2000)
  6. Simba Makoni (2000–2002)
  7. Herbert Murerwa (August 2002 to February 2004)
  8. Christopher Kuruneri (February 2004-April 26, 2004)
  9. Herbert Murerwa (April 26, 2004 to February 6, 2007)
  10. Samuel Mumbengegwi (February 6, 2007–2008)
  11. Tendai Biti (February 2009- July 2013)
  12. Patrick Chinamasa(September 11, 2013 to October 9, 2017 )
  13. Ignatius Chombo(October 10, 2017 to November 27, 2017)
  14. Patrick Chinamasa (21 November, 2017 to 07 September, 2018)
  15. Mthuli Ncube (07 September 2018, to present)


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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