Jonathan Moyo’s legal victory against Vice-President John Nkomo is likely to stir fresh political turmoil in Zanu PF despite the party’s attempts to downplay implications of the development.
Nkomo has been ordered to pay $5 000 in damages to Moyo after a protracted legal battle in which Moyo sued Nkomo for accusing him of trying to stage a “smart coup” against the Zanu PF presidium.
Zanu PF claimed that the defamation suit would not have any effect on relations within the party.
Party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo said the party had nothing to do with the case as it was entirely “a personal one”.
“These are legal issues that have nothing to do with the party. It has nothing to do with Zanu PF. Why don’t you speak to Nkomo and Moyo,” said Khaya Moyo.
Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo echoed Moyo’s sentiments.
“We are not going to comment on personal issues,” he said.
However, when reminded that some Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial executive members were suspended for taking party matters to the police,
Gumbo said, “then those are provincial issues.”
Moyo refused to comment on the case saying the judgment was passed in his absence, before referring further question to the lawyers.
“I have absolutely nothing to say about this. I was not in court. I cannot comment on something I do not know,” he said.
His lawyer Job Sibanda was elated on behalf of Moyo.
“I am happy for the plaintiff. I think he has been vindicated,” he said.
Sibanda said he had noted Justice Francis Bere’s comments in his judgment when he said political squabbles should not be brought to court but should be solved at constituency level.
“It is not too late for the parties to narrow down the rift between the two of them. They come from the same place in Tsholotsho and represent the same party,” he said.
“They are both political heavyweights and it will benefit Tsholotsho if the two work together.”
Efforts to get a comment from Nkomo were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Moyo filed a Z$2 billion lawsuit against Nkomo who at that time was Zanu PF national chairman, claiming damages from what he said were Nkomo’s inflammatory statements at a Zanu PF provincial coordinating committee meeting in Matabeleland North.
According to the papers filed by Moyo at the time, Nkomo told the gathering that Moyo had plotted a bloodless coup against President Robert Mugabe and the entire Zanu PF presidium.
Nkomo’s statement stemmed from a meeting allegedly organised and funded by Moyo at Dinyane High School in Tsholotsho which became popularly referred to as the Tsholotsho Declaration.
At the time, it was alleged that Moyo had planned to subvert a proposed plan to elevate incumbent Vice-President Joice Mujuru to her current position.
This, it was alleged, would have been possible through convincing six of the 10 Zanu PF provincial chairpersons to elevate Emmerson Mnangagwa to the vice-presidency at the party’s 2004 congress.