HARARE - Today, is a crucial day in the political life of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo (pictured) who faces his possible Waterloo following outbursts by President Robert Mugabe describing him as “devil incarnate” who had joined Zanu PF to destroy it from within.
Mugabe said Zanu PF did not need elements like Moyo who needed to be fished out.
High-level sources told the Daily News yesterday that following Mugabe’s savage attacks on Moyo, the 57-year-old will seek an emergency meeting with the 90-year-old leader today for direction on whether he will stay as minister or either resign or get fired.
While Moyo was not available for comment yesterday, sources close to him told the Daily News yesterday that a meeting between the two could be pencilled for today.
“Professor Moyo is faced with a do or die situation. He is likely to meet the president tomorrow (today) where the two will engage in a frank discussion. Prof (Moyo) is confused why the president would go all out to publicly attack him when he can use internal channels to discipline him.
“But Prof as you know him, will not go down without a fight. He wants to know from the president if he has been fired and will also be keen to know if it will be possible for him to resign. It’s not easy to react after being publicly rebuked like this. Prof is distraught as all along he was of the belief that he was one of president Mugabe’s blue-eyed boys after helping him win last year’s elections.
“It also seems like the death of Cde Nathan Shamuyarira has opened old wounds for Moyo. If you remember in 2004, he clashed with Shamuyarira after the late hero had facilitated an interview between Sky News and president Mugabe without Moyo’s knowledge. Moyo was the minister of Information. Shamuyarira never liked Moyo,” said the source.
Moyo has, however found support from media and political analysts who said he was being victimised for trying to end polarisation in the media.
To worsen Moyo’s woes, a Zanu PF faction allegedly led by Vice President Joice Mujuru is baying for his blood and is putting pressure to have the Information minister fired.
The faction prepared a dossier which was presented to the Zanu PF politburo last week which nailed Moyo as an insider out to damage the party from within, a view Mugabe is said to have agreed with and led to the brutal onslaught against the minister.
The Mujuru faction is said to be objecting to Moyo bouncing back as a politburo member and consequently as minister and then using the State media to humiliate them.
The ruling party is sharply divided between a faction led by Justice and Legal Affairs minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, a 66-year-old guerrilla war veteran and Mugabe’s key ally and enforcer, widely seen as a succession contender, along with Mujuru, 59, another liberation war veteran whose nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa and is leading the stakes to succeed the 90-year-old president.
The Mujuru faction accuses Moyo of being divisive having clashed with two late vice presidents Joseph Msika and John Nkomo while at the moment they accuse him of using the State media to fight Mujuru.
At the heated politburo meeting last week, Moyo was forced by members of the Mujuru faction to deny he was involved in any plot against Zanu PF or to abuse his party enemies through the State media, where his appointment of a fresh hierarchy of editors caused consternation.
“Don’t plant seeds of division,” Mugabe said at Shamuyarira’s funeral at the Heroes Acre, apparently sledging Moyo, whom he re-appointed last year.
Earlier on Friday, Mugabe described Moyo as divisive and “the devil incarnate”, who sacked hardworking and loyal editors at State-owned newspapers and replacing them with opposition sympathisers.
“You have our minister of Information wanting to put people one against another.
“Don’t make anyone in the party a political enemy. You may differ with others in the party, but that should not make you want to attack them in the paper. It’s destructive ideology.
“We now have weevils in our midst. Zanu PF has weevils within its ranks,” Mugabe charged.
In the politburo, officials said Moyo was reminded of the attacks he had made against party heavyweights.
The last two years, he was accused of focusing his attacks through the State media on administration secretary Didymus Mutasa, whom the State media described as a “dwarf in oversized robes” and retired Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, whom Moyo described as a “house nigger “. Gono enjoys a close family relationship with Mugabe.
Moyo has also come under attack over ZimAsset. His answers had become “monosyllabic” around the economic blueprint ZimAsset in recent discussions, with the Mujuru faction claiming the blueprint was struggling to take off because it was being marketed and promoted by Moyo, a political scientist with little knowledge of economics.
“ZimAsset, is struggling to take off because Chapter 6 on funding and debt clearance only occupies one-and-a-quarter pages out of 118 pages, showing the bankruptcy of the authors in terms of financial literacy,” said one senior official linked to the Mujuru faction.
Another senior Zanu PF official said Moyo was slowly usurping power.
“He is behaving almost like president de-facto,” said the official.
“He was running the ministry of Finance and was to be found everywhere. Elephants get killed, he is there; Tokwe-Mukorsi, he is there but gets chased away (together with nine other ministers by villagers). Diplomats were falling over each other to pay courtesy calls on him; he was overshadowing the minister of Foreign Affairs; Water. Only (Indigenisation minister Francis) Nhema stood up to him.”
The Daily News heard that officials in the politburo also questioned the nexus between Moyo and junior spin-doctor Psychology Maziwisa, with Oppah Muchinguri springing to Moyo’s defence. Maziwisa used to be a fierce critic of Mugabe a few years ago.
“Our leadership expects to coast through this congress by banking on everyone’s hatred for Jonathan (Moyo),” said one official.
Like others spoken to, he declined to be named citing the sensitivities of the matter.
“There’s nothing big being done. We’re reshuffling chairs on the Titanic.”
Political experts were exploring exit strategies for Moyo, which one official said includes teaming up with intellectuals in the Tendai Biti faction; go back to revive the embattled Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, form his own party or go back to teaching.
“He is a beneficiary of land reform, so he can go back to the farm,” a senior Mujuru faction ally said.
“It’s difficult to see him being retained in the politburo after the December congress. He is an excitable character who can’t be trusted by anyone. He has no permanent friends.”
Sources said Moyo has become the prime target of the Mujuru faction’s ire, with senior officials saying there was complete breakdown in trust.
“We need to be in a position where we trust our leadership,” the official said.
“When you have politicians actually playing tricks on their own party, I think that erodes the trust the Zimbabwean people have in the rest of us,” the senior official said.
Moyo was not keen to take questions at the weekend amid reports that he wants to clear the air through talks with Mugabe first before speaking on the blistering attack by the president.