Some years ago, there was a joke about Zimbabwe’s vice-President Simon Muzenda. The joke was that when he was told that President Robert Mugabe was ill and might die, he asked: “saka ndichaita vice waani”.
I thought about this when I read the story that John Mangudya had been appointed new central bank governor with effect from 1 May. I asked myself: what was wrong with Charity Dhliwayo and Kupukile Mlambo? Are they permanent deputies? Is the governorship like a ministerial post where a politician comes in and leaves the administration to the permanent secretary who is a civil servant?
I am not vouching for either, but I was a little unsettled by the appointment of Mangudya. I have no problem with his qualifications, though I am a bit uneasy about the Washington International University bit because it appears to be an unaccredited institution. But that is immaterial because the first two degrees are from accredited institutions.
What I am uneasy about is that he is coming from CBZ, the same bank that Gideon Gono used to work for. My question is: will he be able to investigate what his predecessor did? Things like who benefitted from the mechanisation programme? Who benefitted from the ASPEF programme? Who benefitted from BACOSI and did these people deserve to? Or did they repay the loans if they were given loans?
I also wanted the new central bank governor to investment CBZ itself. Its name has cropped up is some dubious deals. For example, it was the banker for River Ranch Mine. While people were focussed on Marange there appeared to be a lot of looting there? What was happening there? How did the mine suddenly close? What happened to the diamonds?
There are many questions I would have wanted to ask, but it appears that instead of going for transparency, someone has decided to lock in the family secrets. I might be jumping the gun since he has not yet assumed office, but time will tell.