By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
24 March 2014
President Robert Mugabe has appointed banker John Mangudya as the new governor for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), reports said Monday.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed the appointment on Sunday and said Mangudya’s term will start on May 1st.
Mangudya replaces Gideon Gono who left the central bank late last year after ten years at the helm. Charity Dhliwayo has been acting as the governor since Gono’s departure.
According to reports Mangudya is the chief executive at the CBZ Holdings, the country’s largest banking group by assets. He also worked for the RBZ for 10 years until 1996 and at the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) as its manager for Southern Africa.
A brief biography posted on the Reuters website says Mangudya obtained a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe. He also reportedly received a Doctorate in Philosophy in Business Administration from the Washington International University.
Former finance minister Simba Makoni said he knows Mangudya at both a personal and professional level and he is confident that ‘he will measure up to the task.’ Makoni said: ‘I know he is competent and I know he does things on the straight and narrow.’ On Mangudya’s academic profile Makoni said: ‘I don’t know what certificates he holds and neither do I know which universities he went to; all I know is that he is competent and professional.’
However, Makoni said that Mangudya’s job will not be easy because of the political and economic challenges which the country faces. He said: ‘The question is will he be allowed to operate according to his competence and qualification or he will be interfered with politically, which has been the problem for his predecessor.’ He added: ‘The many challenges which the economy faces will without any doubt make his job very difficult and stressful.’
Tony Hawkins, who is an economist and RBZ board member, said the new governor will face a ‘restricted role’ because the country doesn’t have its own currency. Hawkins said while Mangudya is both experienced and ‘well trained’ the governor’s job is ‘seriously constrained by the dollar economy.’ He said ‘money supply is obviously out of the bank’s control.’
Zimbabwe discarded its currency in 2009 in favour of multiple foreign currencies which include the dollar and South African rand, in a bid to arrest hyper-inflation.