Gilbert Nyambabvu

Nyambabvu is the deputy editor of New Zimbabwe.com. He is a keen football fan (read Manchester United) and reads classics to stay sane

Kereke should check in with his shrinks

Unseemly spat … Munyaradzi Kereke and Gideon Gono

MUNYARADZI Kereke, the former central bank adviser, must think Zimbabweans are mental dunces who are enamoured of his brilliant self that we will let him treat us with the selfish disregard of a lover who tantalises you with the preliminaries only to abruptly disengage at that heady, titillating moment when things start to get really exciting. Either that or the chap has totally gone bonkers, in which case the shrinks at his Rocfoundation Medical Centre must swiftly take him in for a thorough examination of his cerebrals; and this, just to be clear, one says not out of malice but genuine concern for a fellow’s wellbeing.

Indeed one does not need to be a malcontent or friend of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono, to have major problems with Kereke’s endless and incoherent ramblings about his ex-boss’ alleged corrupt practices. To be fair with the chap though, it is entirely possible that Gono is corrupt – and we all are, potentially corrupt that is. But the simple fact of the matter in this particular case is that Kereke either has proof of the governor’s supposed malfeasance and must promptly hand the same over to the investigating and prosecuting authorities, or he just cannot back-up his allegations with incontrovertible proof and should, therefore, do us all a favour by keeping his gob well shut.

Kereke went public with explosive allegations that Gono stole millions of dollars in public funds from the RBZ back in February, to the delight of those who love the whiff of scandal in high office and a bitter falling out between members of our parvenu, wealthy and powerful elite. Gono did not comment on the clearly embarrassing claims and also ignored Kereke’s demand that he publicly apologises for allegedly besmirching his former protégé’s name or risk having the evidence of his corrupt practices made public. Gono, no doubt, has enemies who would love to see him fall, yet none could seize on Kereke’s claims to finally bring the governor down because Kekere would not make the evidence available, choosing instead to deposit it with some lawyers as some kind of insurance against supposed threats on his life.

Yet it turns out the governor quietly filed two defamation suits at the High Court demanding US$25 million from Kereke, prompting the latter to make a bizarre appeal to the Speaker of Parliament for immunity from the court action. And it is this whacky Parliamentary appeal which makes one wonder whether Kereke can actually support, with incontrovertible evidence, his allegations against Gono.

To begin with, it is not clear quite how Kereke expects Parliament to be able to interfere with a matter that is now before the courts. And more importantly still, he tells the Speaker of Parliament that he needs the legislative body’s “leave and immunity to “source” and produce before the High Court of Zimbabwe information which I know with certainly (sic) exists proving the rampant acts of theft of millions of public funds, fraud, corruption gross, abuse of office, betrayal of national interests and breach of the Official Secrets Act and other vices by Dr Gideon Gono”.

Now why would he require Parliamentary help to “source” the supposedly damning information having triumphantly claimed to be in possession of the same back in February when he threatened to sue Gono for allegedly tarnishing his image? In his February letter, which was widely circulated in the media, Kereke clearly stated that: “There are at least three legal experts who have taken custody of the evidence (and are prepared) to testify on my behalf in the event I cease to be here on earth for whatever reason, given the real threats on my life these matters are now raising”. Why then would he require Parliament’s help to “source” evidence which he said was safely deposited with his lawyers?

In addition, Kereke told his former boss (in that February letter) he was “ready to testify and produce (the) evidence so please challenge me in open courts (sic)”. But the minute Gono obliges and duly goes to the courts with a US$25 million defamation claim, Kereke scurries to Parliament for protection and help to ‘source’ evidence which is supposed to be with his lawyers. He tries to explain his request for immunity from prosecution by claiming that he cannot defend himself because certain (unnamed) individuals have threatened him with all manner of fatal bodily havoc if he dared reveal “evidence proving Gono’s acts of breech (sic) of the law and betrayal of the country’s interest”.

In addition, we are told that he cannot defend Gono’s US$25 million damages claim without contravening the Official Secrets Act. Now, was he not contravening the same piece of legislation by handing what he claims to be “state secrets” to three lawyers for public release in the event the alleged threats on his life are acted upon? In any case, Kereke made it clear to the Speaker of Parliament that “it is absolutely NOT my intention to undermine the sacred interests of The State by revealing any document or facts detrimental to the interests of The State” and that “the data I seek this special Parliamentary Immunity for is that which relates ONLY to Dr Gono’s unacceptable criminal transgressions for his personal gain which he now wants to cover up through abusive deployment of the Official Secrets Act on me”.

So, if he is convinced, and we can assume on the advice of his lawyers, that this dossier he claims to have, or is sourcing, does not contravene the Official Secrets Act, why should he require Parliamentary protection so he can use the same to defend the defamation suit filed by Gono? The gentleman would also have us believe that his “landmark” request for Parliamentary immunity would help prevent Gono and other public officials from using the law to “cover up acts of unmitigated fraud”, adding, and rather gratuitously too, that he was being persecuted for seeking “to contribute positively to the noble fight against corruption”.  But was he not privy to these alleged corrupt practices over the many years he worked at the RBZ? Did he ever say a word?

Again, why did he hide evidence of this corruption (with his lawyers) instead of handing it over to the police or (if he can’t trust them) Parliament itself? In fact, and according to his February letter, Kereke clearly stated that his lawyers would only make the information public if the threats on his life were acted upon, meaning he was quite prepared to protect Gono from prosecution, as long as the governor behaved and kept his goons in check. Indeed, not reporting the corrupt practices he claims to have witnessed and even going so far as to spirit away evidence of the same makes Kereke (morally if not legally) complicit in the whole affair, and if he considers that “a positive contribution to the fight against corruption” as he claims, then God help us!

It is also worth recalling that this is the same individual who told us in February that Gono allegedly forced him to “literally do all the academic work” for his PhD programme with an America university. Apparently he felt “worse than sodomised” over the issue and yet decided to keep his cushy job at the RBZ despite his supposed disgust at the “abuse”. He also demanded that Gono “publicly retract your insults” or he would cause the relevant university to withdraw the Phd award, and for good measure added: “You could never have secured a quarter of the PhD requirements using your very limited and blunt academic mental amplitude even in five decades”. Gono never made the public retraction and Kereke has not acted on his threat to cause the withdrawal of the governor’s PhD award.

Quite clearly therefore, Parliament should not waste its time on Kereke’s ludicrous request. And Kereke should not think Zimbabweans are stupid. One does not need to have a PhD (whether arranged by him or not) to know that the fellow was cool with whatever was going on at the RBZ until Gono sacked him. If he had any objection, he should have resigned in disgust and turned whistle-blower. He cannot suddenly want to be considered a champion of probity in public office just because he has been chucked out of the gravy train, if such it was.

Indeed, whatever the cause of their falling out, it is very clear that this is a matter between the pair of them and one which Parliament has no business interfering with. Kereke said in February that he wanted his day in court and, unless they both come to some form of a deal, it looks like he will get it. So what is the problem?