Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono should stop tarnishing the image of the Zimbabwe National Army and admit that he fuelled inflation by printing money during his reign as the central bank boss, analysts said yesterday.

This comes after Dr Gono told a business conference in Chinhoyi last week that he printed money to prevent a coup by “hungry soldiers”.

He also insinuated that Operation Restore Legacy, which ended the political and economic chaos created by the G40 cabal, was a coup.

Dr Gono said: “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.

 “Operation Restore Legacy would have happened much earlier, but not one that we would have been commanding ourselves. It would have been a ‘restore legacy’ that would have been commanded from elsewhere.

“I had the privilege to come face-to-face with hungry men and women in uniform. 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.”

Analysts said it was ironic that Dr Gono who had fuelled hyperinflationary conditions with his print press wanted to claim glory for stabilising the economy which had in fact been stabilised by dollarisation.

In any case, the observers said, Dr Gono should have resigned if he was a principled financial expert.

 “People of integrity, professionalism and who are progressive would have done what Nkosana Moyo or Simba Makoni did,” said political analyst Mr Godwine Mureriwa.

“We have Patrick Chinamasa, who was cornered during the Mugabe era, but stood with his position on civil service rationalisation and cutting of the wage bill until he lost his post.

“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.”

Tanzania-based analyst Mr Tafadzwa Mugwadi said: “His (Gono) remarks are a clear testimony that he, like others in the senior corridors of Mr Mugabe’s government, had ceased to serve the nation and its toiling masses, but were now captured to the whims and caprices of the flamboyant former First Family. zimpapers