Zanu PF politburo member and President Robert Mugabe’s former spin doctor Jonathan Moyo has been accused of promoting hate speech in what political analysts said was an affront to provisions of the GPA.
This came in the wake of Moyo’s latest vitriolic attacks on the private media, in particular, the Chairman of Alpha Media Holdings Trevor Ncube and Editor of the Zimbabwe Independent Constantine Chimakure.
Moyo, who is widely seen in political circles as a bundle of confusion because of his flip-flops, accused Ncube in this week’s issue of The Sunday Mail of working in cahoots with the West to effect regime change.
He further made disparaging remarks against the Editor of The Independent Chimakure whom he referred to as “a hopeless fellow” who was “self-evidently uneducated, unqualified, inexperienced and brown envelope-seeking”.
Several analysts yesterday lashed out at Moyo, the MP for Tsholotsho North, accusing him of abusing State media to attack his perceived political nemeses and private media practitioners. They said the professor was engendering a spirit of political intolerance.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, South African leader and mediator to Zimbabwe’s political crisis President Jacob Zuma and his facilitator in the GPA, Lindiwe Zulu, have all fallen victim to Moyo’s venomous attacks.
The analysts said Moyo’s scathing articles were divisive and had serious ramifications for national healing and unity.
They said it was time Zanu PF and institutions tasked with spearheading the national healing process reined in Moyo.
“It just shows that the institutions that are supposed to deal with such issues are not doing their role,” said political analyst Charles Mangongera.
“Jomic should rein in such kind of behaviour which is inciting a culture of hate. It’s creating a poisoned political environment.”
Human rights lawyer Trust Maanda described Moyo’s media diatribe as counter-productive.
“It will keep our country polarised and society divided at a time we need national healing for our country to move forward. It keeps us at war with each other,” said Maanda.
Political commentator Hopewell Gumbo said:
“It’s unfortunate that his (Moyo’s) hate language will not save the Zimbabwe we want and will ruffle the already-battered GNU. But Zimbabweans must know him for that and must ignore his rattling which by now is even doing more harm to his party than anybody else while he thinks he is picking the crumbs to rebuild it.”
Civic society activist Earnest Mudzengi also accused the former Information minister — who was a rabid critic of President Mugabe and Zanu PF when outside the party and given space by the independent media — of abusing the State media to fight personal wars.
“His verbiage and actions will further alienate Zanu PF from the masses who continue to be bitter with him for what he did around the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections,” Mudzengi said.
Strenuous efforts to contact Moyo were fruitless all day yesterday as his mobile phone went unanswered
Meanwhile, Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu yesterday met with newspaper editors in Harare and pleaded with them to come together and fight against hate speech which he said continued to pervade certain publications in Zimbabwe.
Shamu told editors that they had the responsibility to shut out from their papers, all sorts of hate speech from any sources, saying allowing such material to pass into their papers made them complicit to whatever consequences the hate speeches wrought.
The minister also warned newspapers against publishing confidential correspondence or discussions, especially from Cabinet, saying his ministry was worried about the increasing prevalence of such practices which could undermine the country’s sovereignty.
“The tendency (of unnamed sources leaking Cabinet secrets) is increasing and we wonder who those sources are. As a ministry, we are worried and we want you, as editors, to think twice (when publishing such information) if your source would own up tomorrow when the witch-hunting begins,” the minister said.
Moyo’s latest barrage in the State media sparked heated debate during the meeting.
Shamu said editors should have the decency to edit out material that was clearly hateful, false or deliberately and irrelevantly attacking individuals without addressing pertinent issues affecting Zimbabwe.