Of course, urging him to resign would certainly provoke a tantrum – but it is the only right and proper thing to do in the circumstances, unless he is still in denial about the gravity of the matter. His ‘arrest’ has been in slow motion – unlike that for those who were arrested before him.
Firstly, it would be fair to the rest of the country if Moyo resigns now not only as information minister but also as a politician following his questioning by the police on a possible serious crime or crimes. He should step down to avoid having unfair advantage against his political rivals. It could also be against the Constitution for Moyo to remain in office, even though he has not yet been charged.
This is not the first time he has been asked to resign. Readers may recall that President Robert Mugabe urged him to resign last month – accusing him of dishonesty and lacking principled vision and likening him to a skilful football player.
“Shamuyarira had a people-oriented direction when he was minister of information and not these little ideas of how I can get so and so. Hatidi munhu anonzvengesa vanhu sebhora (We do not want people who dribble others as in football). Kana wafunga zvekunzvengesa (If you want to dribble), why don’t you go and join Highlanders or Dynamos,” Mugabe said at the burial of former cabinet minister Nathan Shamuyarira.
“MuZanu mune zvipfukuto. Zanu ine zvipfukuto woye. Manje kana chipfukuto chapinda mutsanga ingava nyemba kana chibage haichadyika wotoda chidokohori (Zanu is full of weevils. Let us do away with these weevils and get rid of them because they make the seed inedible.”
The second reason why Moyo must go now is to facilitate police investigations, which include the questioning – or was it interrogation? – he underwent over the Baba Jukwa saga. Proof that he potentially faces serious charges, Moyo saw it fit to hire a lawyer rather than walk into the Police General Head Quarters and answer questions in his eloquent English.
And not just an ordinary lawyer – but one Terence Hussein who has represented or advised Mugabe himself in electoral, constitutional and sanctions cases, although Moyo’s case curiously does not fall in those categories.
Taste of his own medicine?
Thirdly, Moyo’s resignation would be justified to save Mugabe the hassle of dismissing him. Moyo should jump before he is pushed in the same way he called on his political rivals to resign, for example MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai on what some described as trumped-up charges.
Despite allegedly advising United States diplomats in Harare on removing Mugabe from power and who to include on the sanctions list, Moyo said Tsvangirai should resign as Prime Minister In December 2010, because of what he alleged were treasonous offences he allegedly committed as detailed in cables released by Wikileaks.
“There are only two things that could happen in any civilised democracy, for him to resign not just from government but public life altogether. He must also be prosecuted for a litany of treasonous acts against the State,” Moyo told The Herald in 2010. However, he failed to convince the police to arrest him nor the Attorney General to prosecute him.
In June 2011, Moyo agitated for the arrest of Tsvangirai and Jameson Timba, the then Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, saying they had allegedly violated Section 33 of the Criminal Code Section 33, which prohibits the undermining of the authority of the President or insulting the Head of State and Government.
Moyo got his wish when Timba was arrested, but the man who lost the Tsholotsho parliamentary post in July 2013 was not satisfied, as he also called for the arrest of Tsvangirai. Demanding Moyo’s resignation is justified because he is being asked to taste his own medicine.
Resigning now would enable Moyo to come clean on his political ambitions after recent reports linked him to an online movement calling itself 263preez Team, which is reportedly campaigning for him to be Zanu (PF) presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.
Although Moyo has allegedly not publicly denied claims that he is behind the group, Mugabe has always maintained a close eye on him. For instance, in March 2005 he hinted that Moyo had sought to engineer a military coup after he left Zanu (PF) which he later applied to rejoin.
“He did terrible things, going to the army commander …did you want to effect a coup in your favour, so you become leader?” Mugabe asked. When asked if he plotted a coup, Moyo cried.
“We asked him whether he wanted to stage a coup…and tears started flowing down his cheeks,” Mugabe said in Moyo’s home district (see BBC,’ Mugabe made ex-spin doctor cry’, 24/03/05).
Who should go first?
During Moyo’s days in the wilderness (2005), he did not mince his words on ‘Why Mugabe must go now.’
“That Mugabe must go now is thus no longer a dismissible opposition slogan but a strategic necessity that desperately needs urgent legal and constitutional action by Mugabe himself well ahead of the presidential election scheduled for March 2008 in order to safeguard Zimbabwe’s national interest, security and sovereignty,” he said.
“He (Mugabe) is without compassion, maybe because he is now too old, too tired and not in the best of health,” Moyo said (See Nehandaradio, ‘Jonathan Moyo’s view on Mugabe exposed', 20/07/11).
With the succession crisis degenerating into a typhoon fast approaching Zanu (PF) headquarters by December (Congress time), calls on Moyo to resign are likely to get louder if he survives being sacked before then. Zimbabwe would appear destined for a prolonged period of leadership failure.
Despite the bad blood between the serial flip-flopper and his 90-year-old boss, their dialectical relationship seems to be holding, though Mugabe remains tight-lipped about his successor amid reports that his wife was set for ascendency into the party’s anachronistic politburo. More intriguing are reports that his wife is contemplating studying for a doctorate degree at UZ – although she has no postgraduate qualification.
It is not clear how Grace Mugabe can tackle a PhD after dismally failing and dropping out of a University of London Bachelor of Arts (English) correspondence degree course she did from 1996-2004 – despite Mugabe being her personal tutor. So pathetic was her performance that she obtained marks as low as 7% in one of the subjects. Incredibly, Grace is said to have a first degree in Chinese.
Rather than being mired in controversy, jockeying for political positions, if true, Moyo should better resign now and go back to university, not football as suggested by Mugabe. Only that way can he salvage his reputation as an academic and scholar.
Clifford is a London-based political analyst. [email protected]Post published in: News