HARARE - As Zanu PF’s deadly factional and succession wars get nastier, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday reacted with venom to threats by the pro-Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) to deal with him.
In a hard-hitting statement, Moyo also savaged War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa as a “rogue” factionalist and “desperate successionist” plotter, while once again describing under-fire Information permanent secretary George Charamba as a “blithering idiot”.
And in a stunning claim, Moyo also accused Mutsvangwa and his war veterans followers in the leadership of the ZNLWVA of using and abusing the Presidential Guard military barracks in Harare’s Dzivaresekwa high density suburb to plot their factional politics.
The biting statement followed weekend threats by the ZNLWVA secretary general, Victor Matemadanda, to bar Moyo — who together with other senior Zanu PF officials such as Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao are seen as opposed to Mnangagwa — from attending forthcoming party politburo meetings.
“My attention has been drawn to a media statement by successionist elements in the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), first reported by ZBC News on Saturday evening, 30 January, 2016 and subsequently carried by NewsDay and the Daily News on Monday 1 February, 2016.
“The statement declares support for scurrilous and unprecedented political attacks on Cabinet ministers, including myself, who are also politburo members by the permanent Secretary in the ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, George Charamba.
“In particular, the statement threatens to physically bar me from attending the next politburo meeting and purports to bar me from accessing the 16th Floor of Zanu PF Head Quarters, which 16th floor does not exist except only in their ignorant minds,” Moyo began his acerbic statement.
“Apparently, the said statement was issued after a provincial meeting of ZNLWVA held on Saturday, 30 January, 2016 at Dzivaresekwa Presidential Guard Barracks which was chaired by John Guta and officiated by ZNLWVA national chairman, Chris Mutsvangwa, and its secretary-general Victor Matemadanda.
“It is extraordinary and indeed scary that the Dzivaresekwa Presidential Guard Barracks was used as a venue for a meeting whose purpose was to plot and threaten physical harm against a Cabinet minister and politburo member appointed to both offices by His Excellency, the President.
“This was a gross and unacceptable abuse of a State facility. The fact that this unprecedented abuse of State barracks was officiated by (Chris) Mutsvangwa — a Cabinet minister and politburo member — not only raises eyebrows about what else was plotted, but also clearly demonstrates the extent to which Chris Mutsvangwa has gone rogue in pursuit of not just a factionalist agenda but also a desperate successionist plot,” Moyo charged.
“It should be remembered that ahead of the 2015 Zanu PF’s National People’s Conference, the same (Chris) Mutsvangwa availed his ministerial office to a shadowy youth group from which it made violent statements barring Cdes Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwao and myself from setting foot at the National Heroes Acre.
“Abusing a government ministerial office for that outrageous purpose was bad enough, but abusing Dzivaresekwa Presidential Guard Barracks in pursuit of a successionist plot is just going way too far.
“For the record, I wish to state that it is false and insulting to His Excellency, the President, to claim that he sent George Charamba to savage his Cabinet ministers and politburo members on public radio with all sorts of primitive insults such as “uneducated fools”; “little men” among other unprintable epithets.
“Cabinet ministers and politburo members are not civil servants, but are presidential appointees with whom His Excellency the President has direct communication as their boss.
“In the same vein and for the avoidance of doubt, I reiterate that only a blithering idiot will say or believe that I am working with Joice Mujuru’s People First project which exists only in the media,” he added.
“Finally, nobody should make the mistake of thinking for a moment that they can block me from attending a politburo meeting called and chaired by President Mugabe. That can never happen.
“Only the president can stop anyone from attending any meeting he convenes or chairs. For anyone else to seek to do that under any pretext whatsoever will be tantamount to usurping the president’s prerogative and authority, something which is not different from a successionist attempt at a coup,” he said in conclusion.
The move by the war veterans to attack Moyo followed controversial utterances last week by the hawkish Charamba, whose Zanu PF detractors say he is more and more flaunting his favoured side in the party’s succession wars, after he savagely shellacked Mnangagwa’s party foes.
Speaking in an interview with ZiFM sterio, Charamba labelled the ruling party’s ambitious Young Turks who go by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), and who are opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe, as “foolish successionists” who are bound to lose this war.
He also accused the G40 brains trust of harbouring “sinister minds that speak in the name of the president but who are in fact successionists” — sentiments that immediately provoked an angry retort from Moyo.
“And here are these God’s deputies who will know when Mugabe will die, who can tell who can be vice president and who can succeed, and meanwhile, we must accept that they are not ambitious themselves.
“They don’t want to be vice presidents themselves but they know who must not be. They don’t want to be presidents themselves, but they know who must not succeed.
“Here are little men with absolutely no iota of history behind them thinking they can emerge as leaders of this country, with little minds, thinking boldness is age, no it isn’t.
“Here is one tragedy of those little fellas, and I call them little fellas, they confuse media skills with social skills. They think you can scale up the political ladder by tweeting through Twitter, not knowing that they are tweeting themselves to eternity.
“Who think that when you manipulate one or two headlines, you have a social base for launching your stupid ambitions, they will come to grief. They will come to grief. Get it from me,” Charamba said in what was seen as a naked attack on Moyo, and adding ominously that “I am speaking as president Mugabe’s press secretary”.
This was despite the fact that the Information Tsar had for long crassly argued that Zanu PF’s deadly factionalism was a creation of the independent media, which he has threatened repeatedly.
“They sit there with some little newsman, compose headlines, repeat arguments that they were saying when they were working with me and they think they are being discreet.
“They think we don’t see that. There are fangled hands everywhere and they think we don’t see that? Come on! The tragedy is to think that you think you have the brightest mind around and you are cleverer than every one. That’s tragic.
“Not only have they leaked the stuff but they do so in their poor English, which I know, and I am supposed to sit there, like a happy Buddha and I am supposed to keep my mouth mum when they are discussing the fate of the president, my boss ...
“My boss’s tenure is being discussed by his juniors. Does that make sense to you and this is what makes me angry. And when you point that out they give you a faction,” Charamba added.
The interview drew a sharp rebuke from Moyo who said Charamba’s views had become more and more political beyond what was expected from civil servants as he worked “in aid of a desperate faction”.
“There’s a silly Shakespearean wordsmith who thinks politics is about clever words & who sees himself as the system when he’s a factionalist!
“Zanu PF had 2 factions. Mujuru faction was expelled in 2014 & now exists in the media as PF. Thus only one faction remains a problem!
“Some of us with hard lessons on the 2004 tragedy of factions resisted the Mujuru faction not for the other faction but for Mugabe!” Moyo wrote.
“George Charamba’s media voices are no longer of a civil servant but of a politician in aid of a desperate faction. That’s unacceptable!” he added.