Jonathan Moyo dribbles past Mugabe

The silver-tongued Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has managed to convince President Robert Mugabe that he is innocent of plotting to destroy the party from within.


At a recent meeting with the president, also attended by Minister of State Didymus Mutasa and Happyton Bonyongwe, the head of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Moyo successfully talked his way out of trouble, according to sources in the know.

At the recent funeral of Nathan Shamuyarira, a former Zanu (PF) stalwart, Mugabe threatened to kick Moyo out of the party, describing him as a “weevil” and the “devil incarnate” for reportedly undermining Zanu (PF) by using the public media to attack his internal rivals.

This was Mugabe’s second public attack on Moyo. In March he accused him of orchestrating a media black-out of former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono. Moyo hit back, saying Gono must use his own publication, the Financial Gazette, if he wanted media coverage.

Sources told The Zimbabwean that Moyo outwitted both Mutasa and Bonyongwe during the meeting with Mugabe and managed to convince them that he was a victim of factional fights within the party.

Moyo is said to be gunning for Mugabe’s post when he finally leaves after more than three decades at the helm.

“He went to the meeting with volumes of evidence that he used to dazzle Mugabe”.

“Mutasa and Bonyongwe were no match for him. He denied ever fighting to destroy the party from within, saying what Mugabe was told was the work of people who were afraid of corruption exposes and feared he could too close to him (Mugabe),” said one source who was briefed on the meeting.

Moyo, since being re-appointed Information minister, has used the official media to expose corruption in public bodies such as parastatals. Mugabe has commended his efforts, but observers say Moyo is using the corruption exposes to endear himself to the electorate.

George Charamba, permanent secretary for Information and Mugabe’s spokesperson, last week confirmed that Moyo and Mutasa had a meeting with the president together with a representative of the CIO that he declined to name.

Contacted for comment, Mutasa first denied attending the meeting and later stormed: “Go and ask Charamba if he saw me having a meeting with those people. When you meet him, tell him that issue is not for discussion with the media. Does he think I am stupid? How can I tell the press about a matter of that nature?” said one source who was briefed on the meeting.

Recently, he was named as the brains behind an online initiative, 263preez team, campaigning for him as the future president ahead of a Zanu (PF) elective congress later this year.

He has not publicly denied the allegation, but our sources say he dismissed the initiative as the work of his political rivals during. They said Mugabe listened attentively during the meeting that lasted several hours and advised Mutasa, as the party’s Secretary for Administration, to liaise with chairman Simon Khaya Moyo to arrest factional fights, which he said were destroying the formation. Mutasa, Bonyongwe and Khaya Moyo are all linked to the Mujuru faction.

Mutasa is alleged to have led the preparation of a dossier that made numerous accusations against Moyo, working closely with Mujuru and other loyalists in her faction.

“Mutasa used his position in the Office of the President and engaged the CIO to unearth details that they then forwarded to Mugabe, hence his public attack on Moyo. The dossier accused Moyo, among other things, of making tribal and partisan appointments at Zimpapers, hiring journalists with shady and controversial pasts, victimising journalists and preparing a hit list of party rivals that he ordered to be tarnished in the media,” said the second source.

During his rant against Moyo, Mugabe revealed his annoyance at Moyo’s appointment of journalists who had worked for MDC-T, apparently referring to Conrad Mwanawashe, who headed the opposition party’s publications department but left after the 2013 elections.

Moyo’s rivals also alleged that he had also hired, under unclear circumstances, several journalists along tribal lines. But he is said to have successfully argued that media appointments knew no tribal boundaries and dismissed the allegation as an attempt to whip up ethnic emotions.

He reportedly denied making any appointments and challenged his foes to provide evidence that he was directly involved in hiring journalists at the public media houses and manipulating editorial content.

It is believed that Moyo remains under investigation by the police and CIO for alleged involvement in the Baba Jukwa project set up ahead of last year’s elections to expose sinister developments within Zanu (PF).

Our sources said disgruntled workers at Zimpapers had aided CIO investigations with testimonies against the minister.

“After the meeting, Moyo seems stronger than ever and this has sent shivers down the spines of several senior staffers at Zimpapers and ZBC who had participated in exposing him. He could wield the axe on them,” said one of the sources.

Moyo is alleged to have prepared a dossier exposing some senior employees at Zimpapers who he wants fired. The dossier is reported to be based mainly on a car deal that took place several years ago, from which some top employees benefited. The minister reportedly gave the dossier to The Herald to report on, but nothing has come out of it because journalists are afraid of exposing their colleagues. Moyo recently challenged media houses to expose corruption within their own organisations.

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri is reported to have turned down Moyo’s overtures to have the Zimpapers employees investigated.

Post published in: News
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