Mugabe, Moyo's love-hate relationship

LONDON - The relationship between President Robert Mugabe and one of his ministers, Jonathan Moyo, is one of the most puzzling in contemporary politics.

Given the personal attacks on one another and public humiliations, it never ceases to boggle the mind that the two men sit in the same Cabinet.

Moyo’s attacks on Mugabe before he joined Zanu PF and after he was fired from Cabinet in 2005 for being the alleged architect of the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration, are well documented.

Moyo used some of the most caustic terms to criticise Mugabe.

In the milder terms, Mugabe has described Moyo as “hard-headed.” And perhaps in one of his most extreme vituperations since describing gays and lesbians as “worse than pigs”, he labelled him as the “devil incarnate.”

This latter epithet is as extraordinarily pejorative as it is instructive.

One interpretation would be that Mugabe was expressing the fact that the “devil” that used to attack him in the past had now reincarnated within his party; or not less benign either, the fact that Moyo is the personification of evil.

Both men have invoked extreme terms which makes their relationship in government ever perplexing. That relationship manifested again recently with the surprise transfer of Moyo from the influential ministry of Information to the obscure Higher Education portfolio.

It does not need a rocket scientist to discern that being moved from the position of speaking for the whole government to the narrow confines of the Higher Education ministry does not constitute an elevation.

Mugabe’s humiliation of Moyo when he asked him to leave a Cabinet meeting — many say it was an unnecessary way of handling the matter — after he was recently elected MP illustrates a frayed relationship.

Even more puzzling was the rush in conducting a reshuffle and shift Moyo without his immediate replacement in mind. Mugabe preferred to even leave the portfolio vacant for a while as long as Moyo was out of it.

If his transfer had to do with effective implementation of the so-called ZimAsset as has been claimed, who would be its most effective spokesman than its rumoured author?

Moyo, for all his preposterous antics, is of his ministers, the most articulate, and perhaps, the most cunning too, to be Mugabe’s best propaganda chief at a time the Zanu PF regime continues to receive adverse international publicity.

Perhaps it is one of those qualities — cunningness — that also rankles, nay petrifies, Mugabe because, all considered, Moyo’s transfer could not have been based on performance grounds.

Moyo’s association with one Zanu PF faction could have been a cause. It is rumoured that Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who has become influential in Zanu PF succession politics, could have had a hand in the decision.

Mugabe and Moyo seem to have a love-hate relationship.

Moyo is said to have stood for the Tsholotsho seat without Mugabe’s sanction. In Mugabe’s mind

Moyo and Tsholotsho, will forever conjure up the image of that scheming “devil.”

Mugabe recognises Moyo as a performer or technocrat but he also sees him as a devilish plotter to want to keep him on the leash. Tsholotsho is a permanent reminder. If Mugabe was less pleased he did not sanction Moyo standing in Tsholotsho recently, he may not have been too displeased that Moyo lost the seat in the last general election.

That way, Mugabe would be the sole allocator of political power to a man he always wants to keep on the leash, through his appointment to government as a non-constituency MP.

A Moyo with his own social base, rather than necessarily or solely depending on Mugabe’s largesse for political power, and featuring treacherously in succession politics, has probably unsettled the Zanu PF strongman.

Whatever our speculations, for people in the same party and government, Mugabe and Moyo’s relationship remains most intriguing in our contemporary politics.

It is characterised by suspicion, perhaps love (for Moyo’s professional competence) but certainly episodes of extreme hate that often defy disguise.

Comments (7)

Moyo is a threat to Bob the man has Bigballs when it comes to intelligence

jordan - 14 July 2015

Moyo is merely power hungry. No matter how abuse he suffers from uncle Bob he prefers to hold on as he cannot imagine leaving ZANU-PF. He behaves like a baby kkkkkkkkkkkkk. Shame.( Nikita)

Jokoniah Mpofu - 15 July 2015

The love hate relationship is better described in this idiom, better the devil you know than the devil you don't know. RGM knows how devilish Moyo is but it also goes without saying that he is also a competent minister. Therefore, RGM would rather keep him in the cabinet than throw him out. Is this what they call disciplinary

pride - 15 July 2015

Lets not confuse intellect with stupidity. Moyo is neither clever nor intelligent. Moyo is just someone who has access to the weapon that he uses to abuse people`s rights for his selfish gains. Being a good English speaker or writer does not make one intelligent (which what Moyo is exactly... an English speaker kikikiki

redo - 15 July 2015

Hey Mr Editor please can we have some articles that give us some encouragement for the future rather than this sort of drivel about Mugabe & his cronies. Not everything in Zimbabwe should be about this chief destroyer of our beloved country!

saundy - 16 July 2015

one way or the other. Moyo has done what makes him inevitable to ZANU and Mugabe. Without so, he would have been ousted by now.

Base - 17 July 2015

MUGABE IS VERY CLEVER ON THIS ONE. JONATHAN MOYO IS ONE CHARACTER YOU WOULD RATHER HAVE INSIDE THE TENT PISSING OUT THAN OUTSIDE THE TENT PISSING IN!!! HE WOULD CAUSE SUCH A STINK FOR THOSE INSIDE THEY WOULDNT STAND IT!!!!

SHIBOBO - 18 July 2015

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