According to the privately owned Standard newspaper, Gono, who spoke during a business conference in Chinhoyi last week, said that he was forced to print more money in a desperate attempt by then president Robert Mugabe’s governement to prevent a coup by “hungry soldiers”.
Gono said that although he was aware that the move would trigger hyper-inflation, it had to be done to prevent an insurgence from hungry soldiers.
He said that the cash was used to appease the troops.
“If we had not done what we did printing money and allowing inflation to skyrocket, then the men and women you see in those beautiful uniforms, they were ready to get out of their barracks.”
Watch the video below
“… I had the privilege to visit each and every barrack in this country to come face-to-face with hunger, hunger that was affecting men and women who have nothing else but their AKs; men and women who, if we did not do what we did, could have been tempted to get out and look for some food by whatever means,” Gono was quoted as saying.
Gono retired in 2013.
Gono said that the southern African country was faced with a tough situation that had not been seen anywhere else in the world, reported the Voice of America.
But the state-owned Herald newspaper quoted analysts as saying that it was ironic that Gono who “fuelled hyperinflationary conditions with his print press wanted to claim glory for stabilising the economy which had in fact been stabilised by dollarisation”.
The analysts reportedly said that Gono should have resigned if he was a principled financial expert.
“2008 was a critical period for everyone and for Gono to tarnish the image of the army like that is unacceptable. It is sad that he sees Operation Restore Legacy as a coup, yet it was restoration of the ideals of the liberation struggle and removal of the one centre of power which had been clandestinely created by the G40 cabal,” political analyst Godwine Mureriwa was quoted as saying.
According to reports, Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar and South African rand in 2009 after inflation, which peaked at 231 million%.
But the country has since run out of the US dollar notes in recent months, and hopes to ease the cash crunch by printing its own “bond notes” has not yet yielded the desired outcomes.