Nkosana Moyo takes on Mugabe

HARARE – As the country hurtles towards potentially bruising elections next year, former Industry and International Trade minister Nkosana Moyo has given the first clearest hint that he would take on President Robert Mugabe at the polls although he remained cryptic on whether he will become part of coalition efforts meant to decongest the presidential race to just one opposition candidate to face the Zanu PF leader.

The former African Development Bank (AfDB) vice president had a short stint in Mugabe’s administration, as his industry and trade minister between 2000 and 2001, before suddenly resigning to retrace his footsteps in business, disenchanted with his leadership style.

His entry into the presidential race, though not yet confirmed, could be another case of a former Mugabe-ally-turned rival just like Edgar Tekere, Simba Makoni and Joice Mujuru before him; although unlike the others, Moyo has never been a card-carrying member of Zanu PF.

But unless efforts to form a coalition against the ageing Zanu PF leader bear fruit, Moyo’s sojourn into politics could overpopulate the presidential race in a country with over 40 opposition parties seeking to outdo the ruling party at the polls.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main MDC, has already been authorised by his party to stand as its presidential candidate, and will be facing Mugabe for the fifth time since the formation of his party in 1999. Mugabe secured another mandate in December 2014 to extend his leadership of the party and government.

Also likely to throw their hats into the ring are the likes of Mujuru under the National People’s Party, Makoni as leader of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn and Dabengwa, through his revived Zapu.

This week, Moyo gave the first clearest hint that he will offer himself to stand for election should the people say so.

Since he came back home from active technocratic service abroad, his name has been popping up as one of the potential presidential candidates in next year’s elections, whose outcome is likely to be influenced by the youth vote.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, Moyo said he will announce his decision in due course on whether to participate in the elections as an independent candidate or not.

“As the country approaches the elections in 2018, it has been my honour to be included in the different conversations that people are having about who might potentially lead the country going forward. When the question has been put to me in the past about whether, and if so how, I might run, I have promised the people of Zimbabwe that at the right time, I will announce my decision. That time has not yet arrived,” he said.

“It would be inopportune to pre-empt that announcement at this stage, as I am is still listening very, very hard to the different views about the solutions to the country’s problems and how the people themselves feel about their democracy and the place that leaders (not rulers) occupy in it,” he added.

Those close to Moyo intimated to the Daily News that the former industry and trade minister was almost close to letting the cat out of the bag to avoid leaving it until too late like what happened to Makoni in 2008 when the former finance minister announced his candidature with only less than two months to go before the crunch polls.

Makoni received eight percent of the vote in an election that had to be decided by a run-off after Tsvangirai won the first round but fell short of the threshold required to be declared the winner. The MDC leader had to pull out of the run-off after his supporters and officials became the targets of violence, thus presenting Mugabe with victory on a silver platter.

Moyo has already excited a number of fringe opposition political parties that have been eager to entice him to lead them. It has been said and not denied that elders in the troubled Zimbabwe People First once approached Moyo to lead the party following their fallout with Mujuru early this year.

Moyo has confirmed being approached by some political parties, without naming them.

About prospects of becoming part of a grand coalition that would confront Zanu PF at the next polls, he appeared keen on the idea but his views on how the alliance should operate are at variance with the current thinking among its proponents.

“What I propose is something different. That while a presidential candidate should stand on a platform using the framework of a movement comprising different people coming together to form an alliance, once in office the alliance must accept that his first role is to carry out the people’s agenda. A president must not also be a party president. That is just wrong. One cannot serve two masters,” he said.

“That is why, when I started this journey and various parties asked me to come and lead them I said no. Because those parties are not organised in a way that would allow me, once elected, to be free of the party and be a national president, not a party president. So if I was to run, it would not be as an ‘independent candidate’ but to become an ‘independent president’. That would require for there to be a movement governed by a constitution, which says that once elected, the presidential candidate is released from leadership of the movement and seconded to government. Someone else leads the movement in the time being. The movement then exercises no control over the president, who is left free to choose a government of talent from anyone who is Zimbabwean, including people from other parties. That president is truly independent of party politics. If I ran, it would be only on those terms,” he said.

It has been suggested that Moyo could be contemplating forging a working relationship with some in Zanu PF, capitalising on the internal discontent in the ruling party against Mugabe’s continued leadership.

The veteran nationalist has led his party since 1975, following the assassination of Herbert Chitepo in March of that same year.

Moyo, however, said he has no desire to work with Zanu PF and has never been part of the party.

“That question is so wrong in every respect it’s hard not to laugh. Going back implies ever having been somewhere. I was never in Zanu PF. Many times I have been referred to as a technocrat. That means I was appointed into Cabinet based upon a recognition by the president that I had particular skills that could be put to use for the nation. There is no party qualification to being a technocrat. So there is simply nothing to get back to,” he said.

Asked what he would do differently if elected to serve, he was once again cryptic.

“Again, it would be very presumptuous to answer such a question without having said one is running, and assuming that the people will choose me if I did. But, in a hypothetical situation, given that the first thing a President does upon winning is to appoint a cabinet, I would think that the first thing I might do is to bring unity to the nation through assembling a cabinet of skills not of personalities.,” he said.

“That means that in the putative selection of ministers, I would look at the skills that someone can bring to the table, before looking at who and what party the person belongs to. So that if the best possible Tourism Minister was to be found in Zanu PF and the best possible Minister for Education was in MDC-N for example, I would pick such a person. There is no better way to set oneself up for failure than to assemble unqualified people around a Cabinet and giving them tasks that require skills they don’t have. And, in a country as endowed with talent as ours is, there is no reason to ever do that,” said Moyo.

Moyo is the founder and executive chairman of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies.

He served as the chief operating officer and vice president at AfDB from March 2009 to August 2011.

He was the managing partner and served as senior advisor of Africa at Actis Capital LLP (now Actis LLP), having joined Actis in January 2004.

He sits on various board of leading company and is an entrepreneur in his own right.

After the contentious 2000 elections won by Zanu PF, he was invited to join Mugabe’s administration as Industry and International Trade minister, resigning from his position unceremoniously in 2001.

Following his sudden resignation, Mugabe had not kind words for him to the extent of calling him a “coward”.

This week, Moyo told the Daily News that he would not be drawn into a slanging match with the Zanu PF leader.

“ . . . Zimbabweans deserve better than have those in the public arena hurl insults at one another and calling each other names like coward or what have you.

“And when someone is in a position where they find themselves victim to such insults, it is important that one looks at it as a sign that there is something about you that threatens the one doing the insulting. Ultimately, Zimbabweans must have a final say on who is what in their public space,” Moyo said.

Comments (19)

They are 2 known political parties in this country mdc t and zanu the rest are just taking chances whether they form a coalition or not they have no votes that can influence the out come of elections . What mighty happen maybe is zanu will be affected bcoz some of its supporters will vote for Mujuru bcoz she is zanu .Otherwise its a waste of time to talk about coalition with parties who are not known or loved by voters .

Diibulaanyika - 17 June 2017

Mr. Moyo while I respect your individual self especially your bold move to resign from a corrupt government, your presidential ambitions are illadvised, for starters you need a political base/party, as an independent its difficulty to garner the requisite support. Otherwise you are going to spoil split the vote just like Makoni did and deny Zimbabweans the change they so dire need. Your opin on zim politics sounds too sophisticated for ordinary voters, if you think you have a lot to offer do it within the mooted grand coalition with the veteran opposition Tsvangirai leader.

Sinyo - 17 June 2017

haa join the coalition otherwise its another makoni

gilo - 17 June 2017

This is another il advised decisions by cio and zanu pf to try and split the vote for suffering citizens of zim. if you are not a chanza mr moyo join MT work together as a team to deafit zanu pf than causing confusion. you will never win as an indep canditate if you do not win join them or you will be put in the books of zim as another rubish that is used to do rubish work for zanu pf and all young people will rember you as another rubish who......steal the future of the life so be carefull about your decisions its high time we must put our minds above boards and think properly if we are to be our respected elders be warned

dofo - 17 June 2017

N. Moyo may have done so well, while at Standard Chartered Bank and AfiDBank, that is different with politics. In Zimbabwe we are not in draught of presidential candidates. There are already 40 aspirants. What we are short of is the one grand coalition that will unseat Zanu PF. We want alterantive voice that will ensure Rita Makarau reads the actual results of the votes not what Justice Chiweshe did in 2008 and Joice Kazembe an CIO lady. We want a power that will ensure military respect the votes outcome.

amina - 18 June 2017

all things being equal, it hink moyo is an ideal candidate. with no political strings attached to his past, moyo is likely not to negotiate my survival. his ideas are clear as day light. he will not runas an independent but will be an independent president , not a president who is under the dictates of their political parties. he hinted on wlater mzembi being best tourism minister, and coltard being best eductation minister, that is what politics is all about. all i can say is , sir myo please do not recycle deadwood because you are farmiliar with their names. we have other potentially good young people who never had a chance to show case their skills because people like mzembi could not move from being career ministers. if ever a coalition could form, a compromise candidate could be moyo. mdc will not b happy w mujuru, npp, mdcn will not be happy with morgan. so it applies to every one else. at this point the only serious candidate who can be acceptable both sides of the ring is moyo.

mj - 19 June 2017

Mr Moyo , get out of the blankets and stop dreaming , politics is about numbers , who do you think can vote you , I am suspecting you are part and parcel on CIO . you want to split the vote , were in the world have you seen an independent president . I disagree on the issue of say you have to be a technocrat to be a president , you have to have supporters who will vote for your . Mr Moyo must join other democratic elements to remove this evil Mugabe regime otherwise we call you any element against CHANGE.

Mudhara - 19 June 2017

Nkosana Moyo is not what Zim is looking for in next years elections. He has no following just. He should continue doing his bus in SA and leave us to alone. He is a Zanu PF project.

TakuTadi - 19 June 2017

Kana achida kumira regaizve amire. Coalition is for the weak people. Real leaders will stand on their own and people will follow. Coalition what coalition??

Tingo - 19 June 2017

All your comments are wrong signaling lack of good comprehension. The man said: "What I propose is something different...." If you understand well he's acknowledging the need to run on a united platform so I don't see why you all keep commenting on need for a support base. He already said it. His thinking is spot on, if you elect a party president, he won't do jack but fill cabinet posts with party loyalists. We see where that took us with Zanu.

Zuze - 19 June 2017

Its simple and straightforward Mdc v Zanu pf. With due respect to all presidential hopefuls except the two, please give them enough space to face each and avoid a mavambo scenario in 2008 which claimed 5% votes yet the dispute needed far less that to settled. All parties coming into play now are just disturbing the playing field for the benefit of the other.

KUNJERE KUNJERE - 19 June 2017

it seems people are missing the bigger picture. its about forming a formidabble force against Mugabe. Nkosana Moyo might not have a political base but we need people like him, he has a high moral standard which made him to resign due to incompatibility with the system. lets take a look at gambia their coalition was a success and in actual fact it is being led by a person who did not have political base. lets be weary of a divided vote coz that becomes a lifeline for Zanu pf. lets consider whats best for Zimbabwe first, Zanu pf is the oppressor here so lets have one formidabble force not dismiss potential candidates because they have no political base

jon magu - 20 June 2017

Where has this man been when the rest of us were suffering? Who does he think he is to come from nowhere and jump on the driver seat of the train when the destination is in sight?

Jonso - 20 June 2017

Coalition is the only way otherwise you make it easy for the mafia to rig the result and claim that Dr Moyo and MDC-T, MDC & PDP diluted each others vote. Enter a power sharing agreement with Tsvangirai, Ncube and Biti with the understanding that you amend the constitution to create PM role as head of government and President as head of state with some executive role on defence for example. As PM Moyo can run a government made up of technocrats who are accomplished in their respective fields, bring stability and confidence back into the economy. The Presidency & all political types can get on with the job of reform with proper checks and balances to ensure that another Bob crackpot does not come into power and if for some reason they did they will not have unfettered powers like the current situation.

Galore - 21 June 2017

Coalition is the only way otherwise you make it easy for the mafia to rig the result and claim that Dr Moyo and MDC-T, MDC & PDP diluted each others vote. Enter a power sharing agreement with Tsvangirai, Ncube and Biti with the understanding that you amend the constitution to create PM role as head of government and President as head of state with some executive role on defence for example. As PM Moyo can run a government made up of technocrats who are accomplished in their respective fields, bring stability and confidence back into the economy. The Presidency & all political types can get on with the job of reform with proper checks and balances to ensure that another Bob crackpot does not come into power and if for some reason they did they will not have unfettered powers like the current situation.

Galore - 21 June 2017

Nkosana wants to be like Mutambara who came into a GNU to do what? Boast about robotics and high academics? What value did he add? I respect Nkosana but he seems to be a gambler, I would not put my vote on a gambler. Some may even view him as an opportunist.

Sagitarr - 21 June 2017

All what I see in this man is #BRIGHTFUTURE

Wesy - 21 June 2017

Moyo is concerned with life after elections. He seems keen on building the country's fortune professionally. This is why, if he were to head the country, he would care less where he drew expertise from and to add for him, expatriates if need be for as long as the result is good for the country. What does it pay to appoint a man because he happens to be the son of your sister who has no skill? What is the result of such appointments? Ask Zanu and Mugabe, they know what happens but they will not say it openly.

Yeoman Thomas - 21 June 2017

The best intentions don't always win an election. Genuine team effort is the way to go in the Zimbabwean scenario. Simba and Welshman only succeeded in prolonging the excruciating agony of Zimbos

TODINI - 23 June 2017

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