Two ‘sheriffs’ in Mugabetown

2012-07-14 15:31

President Robert Mugabe is torn ­between reason and populism. His two protégés – Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono – are in dispute over grabbing foreign-owned banks.

In the controversial indigenisation drive, Kasukuwere has Mugabe’s blessing.

But the latest threat to four foreign-owned banks got Gono’s back up.

Gono said Kasukuwere was a failed banker and businessman, so his focus on foreign-owned banks was fuelled by his faults, while Kasukuwere said Gono was immature.

Their public spat reached feverish heights last week. Gono left everything in the hands of Mugabe.

“I will be consulting with and obtaining further guidance from HE the President Cde RG Mugabe on the latest moves by the minister in relation to the sector that I superintend – the banking sector – and his instructions will be final in the manner in which we will proceed,” Gono said in a statement.

Mugabe defended Gono when the principals in the GPA called for his exit from the central bank.

But Mugabe stood by him because of the role he played for Zanu-PF during the run-up to the 2008 elections.

He is one of the few men who has access to Mugabe without having to make an appointment.

Kasukuwere’s star has also been rising, courtesy of his loyalty to Mugabe.

The youngest Cabinet minister in Zanu-PF, he is the leader of a clique of young blood interested in big office.

Political Science Professor John Makumbe said the Gono-Kasukuwere feud was an indicator of the divisions and ambition in Zanu-PF.

“They are all interested in proving who has more power. Gono over the years has been a very powerful power broker and Kasukuwere has also become powerful. There are now two sheriffs in town,” said Makumbe.

President Mugabe will have to meet them and make a choice in the next few weeks.

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