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of the political line for Moyo
Mail and Guardian (SA)
September 06, 2013
Political turncoat and
Zanu-PF strategist Jonathan Moyo (56) faces an uncertain political
future after losing his parliamentary seat in Tsholotsho to Roselene
Sipepa-Nkomo, a member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The once fiery minister
of information and publicity’s bid to overturn Sipepa-Nkomo’s
victory of 4, 874 votes against his 4, 646 votes by forcing a recount
in Tsholotsho was blocked by the high court, which ruled that the
poll in the constituency had been conducted properly.
Electoral Commission has set September 11 as the date for a fresh
round of voting
in other disputed areas, including Kadoma, Kusile and Mutasa.
On Tuesday, Sipepa-Nkomo
took the oath of office as the Tsholotsho MP, effectively putting
an end to Moyo’s 13-year reign in Tsholotsho.
has been made even more precarious after President Robert Mugabe
said that he would not include in his Cabinet anyone who lost their
constituencies during the elections. Mugabe is expected to announce
a Cabinet soon.
On the sidelines of the
5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, which
was held in June, Mugabe said the unity government had been wrongly
composed of both winners and losers.
past follows Moyo
and Arthur Mutambara had lost. They had been beaten, but they came
in as honourable ministers who had been dishonoured by the people.
It won’t happen again,” Mugabe said.
A dodgy past has followed
Moyo, who has been accused of embezzling funds. In 1993, he was
accused of misappropriating $88 000 when he was the programme director
for the Ford Foundation in Kenya.
In 1998, while
in South Africa at Wits University, where he was working on a project
sponsored by the WK Kellogg Foundation, the university claimed that
he absconded with part of the R100-million research grant for the
project. He denies both allegations.
Moyo’s political fall, however, has been linked to his censure
by Zanu-PF for allegedly being the mastermind of an ill-fated November
2004 meeting that was held in Tsholotsho.
It was held with the
intention of blocking the rise of Joice Mujuru to the post of vice-president
in favour of Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Moyo was unceremoniously
fired from the government by Mugabe in February 2005. Media reports
at the time indicated that he was given 48 hours to vacate his government
After his dismissal,
Moyo wrote in an open letter that he would not challenge his axing
by Mugabe, and instead gloated about how he had saved Zanu-PF from
to be with the people'
Part of the letter said:
“It is notable and I am sure history and posterity will record
the fact that my service to the President started at a time when
the presidency, the ruling party and our nation were individually
and collectively facing an unprecedented onslaught from a number
of hostile foreign interests and powers. I had the honour and privilege
to be one of the very few in the ruling party and the government
that played pivotal roles in the fight to preserve, defend and protect
Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and democracy.”
In the letter, Moyo also
said that it was better to be “with the people and to work
for them than to be hostage to the whims and caprices of the politics
Moyo went on
to win as an independent candidate in 2005 and was re-elected
in the 2008 election as Tsholotsho MP. Moyo, however, described
his experience as an independent candidate as a “horrible
and miserable” one. He then returned to the party.
Before that fallout,
Moyo was Mugabe’s blue-eyed boy, and played a critical role
in the party by leading the offensive against the MDC and also by
hounding the private media.
As the information
minister, Moyo, is widely believed to have been the architect of
Zimbabwe’s draconian media laws - the Broadcasting
Services Act, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Act, the
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public
Order and Security Act - that among other things require media
houses and foreign and local journalists to register with the government-controlled
The pinnacle of Moyo’s
fight with the private media has been epitomised by his tug-of-war
with the Daily News. When the newspaper was shut down in 2003 during
his tenure as minister, Moyo said: “It [the Daily News] is
a victim of the rule of law, which it had been preaching since 1999.”
His clashes with the
paper re-surfaced again in 2011 when he sued the Daily News for
$100 000 over two articles that it had published linked to WikiLeaks
The paper had reported
how Moyo had allegedly advised the United States government to send
“positive signals” to Zanu-PF in order to encourage
Zanu-PF members to abandon Mugabe ahead of the 2008 elections.
Moyo is also alleged
to have told the former US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell,
that Mugabe feared being hanged.
In 2009, Moyo repented
and returned to Zanu-PF, but he has never appeared to be in his
Viewed suspiciously as
a “sell-out”, other party members have been wary of
his quick acceptance into the party’s politburo, which is
Zanu-PF’s highest decision-making body.
A key strategist in crafting
Zanu-PF’s election manifesto this year, Moyo also appeared
to have taken the back seat during Zanu-PF’s election campaign.
A Zanu-PF insider explained
this week that the politburo had given the responsibility to campaign
to the presidium, resulting in the likes of Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere,
the indigenisation minister, being asked to take a back seat.
resolved that only the presidium would have the responsibility to
campaign for the party to prevent personal ambitions from being
pushed by other members. It’s a pity that Moyo was kept so
busy with party business that he forgot he had to fight to keep
his constituency. It’s a sad ending,” said the insider
who asked to remain anonymous.
But political analyst
Trevor Maisiri from the International Crisis Group said Mugabe was
likely to step in and help save Moyo’s political career.
“Having been the
trouble-shooter of the party during the unity government, in the
Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, the constitution-making
process and in crafting the party’s election manifesto, he
will somehow be rescued,” said Maisiri.
however, seem to be vested in Mugabe’s continued leadership
of the party. Beyond that, Moyo will be alone and he has also made
so many enemies within the party.”
Rashweat Mukundu, chairperson
of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, intimated that Moyo’s
poor showing at the polls marked the end - an end that was not only
being celebrated by the MDC supporters in Tsholotsho, but also within
“Mugabe and Zanu-PF
might as well have been looking for a way to ease Moyo out. His
shelf life with Zanu-PF has expired and I don’t see him featuring
in the future plans of the party,” said Mukundu.
“Mugabe never forgets
and I doubt he ever forgave Moyo, who once said a donkey would win
an election over Mugabe. But being a shrewd politician, Mugabe wooed
him back in a show of the classic rule of keep your friends close
and your enemies closer.”
Moyo had not responded
to questions by the time of going to press.
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