By Harry Fisher|
Now Daily News Analysis|
When president Robert Mugabe opens the second session of parliament in August, a notable absence will be Gideon Gono, the man widely reported to be having an affair with his wife Grace.
Nominated for the senate by Zanu PF’s Manicaland provincial executive in December 2013, Gono was swiftly endorsed by the party’s supreme politburo.
The timing for Gono’s endorsement was opportune. His second, chaotic, term as governor of the central Reserve Bank had just expired. Gono had publicly stated his desire to continue as governor for another year but Mugabe had openly rejected his request. It was, therefore, seen as benevolence on Mugabe’s part to be giving the man who had surreptitiously and maliciously crawled into his bed a job anywhere near government power.
A convenient excuse was found to keep Gono out of the senate until his replacement at RBZ, John Mangudya, was in place. Still begging for the promised senate appointment, Gono endorsed Mangudya’s appointment in March.
Gono was told his entry into the upper chamber of parliament was being delayed by passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill. That Bill was passed by both houses of parliament in May and immediately presented to Mugabe for approval. Mugabe has not acted on it ever since, prompting some to speculate that the delay is meant to frustrate Gono. On Wednesday, the Herald published a news article claiming that Gono’s appointment to the senate was imminent. A day later, the paper backtracked, quoting ‘legal experts’ stating that Gono’s appointment would violate the constitution as he was not on the original party list for Manicaland senator. Former intelligence operative Shadrack Chipanga was next in line after Kumbirai Kangai died within a month of being sworn in. Manicaland province chair John Mvundura is also ahead of Gono in terms of party ranks.
Politburo sources told Now Daily Thursday that Mugabe was never going to give Gono a meaningful role in government after reports surfaced that his trusted personal banker was sleeping with his wife.
“The proposal to make Gono a senator was just meant to pacify him about losing his job as RBZ governor. As you know, Gono requested that his term be extended by one year but the president turned him down. We had to promise him something to make him go away, otherwise Gono is just a banker who has never fitted into the rough and tumble politics of Zanu PF,” said a senior party official from Manicaland.
Another senior politburo member said there was alarm after reports surfaced that Gono might have presidential ambitions and would his senate role to boost his chances.
Gono fell out of favour with Mugabe in 2010 after the president’s dying sister Sabina identified him as Grace’s lover. The UK Times’ reporter Jon Swain’s investigations revealed that Grace Mugabe had sex with Gono during ‘business meetings’ at her Mazowe farm and in South African hotels.
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