Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo is likely to continue with his work in government amid indications that he is not going anywhere despite vitriol directed at him by President Robert Mugabe, it has emerged.
MOSES MATENGA/PHYLLIS MBANJE
Mugabe made the scathing attacks at the funeral wake and burial of national hero Nathan Shamuyarira last week.
Moyo, despite being accused of dividing Zanu PF using the public media and with many speculating over his future in the ruling party, observers said the party spin doctor was staying put and continuing with his government work programme as usual.
Yesterday Moyo reportedly attended Cabinet chaired by Mugabe and is expected to give a keynote address at a Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe workshop in Kadoma tomorrow.
The Zanu PF politburo member is this morning expected to tour the British American Tobacco manufacturing plant in Harare while on Friday he will tour Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant.
Although no comment could be obtained last night from Moyo as he was not reachable, it is understood that a millitary helicopter has reportedly been provided for the minister’s tour of Chisumbanje.
The Chisumbanje ethanol project is jointly owned by Zanu PF-aligned businessman Billy Rautenbach’s Macdom Investment and government through the Agriculture and Rural Development Authority. Rautenbach is also reportedly linked to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa and Vice-President Joice Mujuru reportedly lead factions angling to succeed Mugabe in the Zanu PF succession matrix.
Analyst Alexander Rusero said it was highly likely that Moyo would not be chucked out of Cabinet and Zanu PF as he was “useful” to Mugabe and the ruling party.
“I don’t think they can deal with him. If you are a strategic leader like Mugabe in a party riddled with factionalism, it is necessary to chide at a faction that is getting an upper hand,” Rusero said.
He said Moyo was the chief strategist in the last elections and even the MDC-T agreed that his Bhora Mugedhi (loosely translated “score for the party, not against it”) message had power and appealed to the masses.
“That message and manifesto was authored by Moyo and I don’t think Zanu PF can be blind not to see how important he is to the party,” Rusero said.
He said Moyo came to Mugabe’s rescue in 2000, 2002 and 2013.
“Whenever he is called, he delivers. He is a reliable contract worker. On accusations that he wants power, you can’t be in politics to remain in the shadows. All this means nothing to his future. If they wanted to deal with him, he would have been fired at the politburo meeting way before Shamuyarira’s death,” Rusero said.
“I don’t see anything happening to him, Zanu PF needs him more than he needs Zanu PF.”
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure also said the attack on Moyo only served as a warning.
“This just shows the depth of the ongoing factional fights within Zanu PF which is desperately trying to stay in power by practicing pendulum politics to appease the warring sides,” Masunungure said.
Masunungure said Mugabe’s remarks were a sign of deep anger not only directed at Moyo, but other high-ranking officials who were seemingly lukewarm in their approach to the opposition MDC-T.
“This was a warning to Moyo and those considered to be pro-MDC to observe the parameters that govern them,” Masunungure added. “He (Mugabe) is obviously unhappy, but it was just a question of defining parameters that govern party members.”
Legal expert Chris Mhike added the chaos within the ruling Zanu PF party had resulted in the current witch-hunt and fault-finding game which would target the “good guys”.
“There can be no doubt that Zanu PF as an organisation, is in disarray on many fronts; especially regarding governance aptitude, policy direction, and organisational cohesion. Under these circumstances, someone or some people were, at one point or the other, bound to be blamed for the raging commotion,” Mhike said.
On whether or not the attack marked the second political demise of Moyo who has been dubbed “turncoat”, Mhike said it was just but a stern warning.
“It would not be surprising to see in a few months’ time, that this rebuke from the President was nothing but a storm in a teacup.”
He, however, said Moyo might be demoted to a lesser influential post.
Media Institute of Southern Africa national director Nhlanhla Ngwenya expressed regret at Mugabe’s utterances and said he should not judge journalists based on their previous employment.
“It is unfortunate that the President has given them political labels simply based on the media outlets they worked for in the past. If that is as simple as that, one can also assume that those working for the State media are all Zanu PF supporters or activists. That is not necessarily the case,” Ngwenya said.
The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) said the attack on Moyo was confirmation of Zanu PF’s abuse of the State media.
“MMPZ expresses its concern over comments by Mugabe at the funeral of the late veteran nationalist and former Information minister Nathan Shamuyarira, which all, but confirmed fears that Zanu PF was in charge of the government-controlled State media,” MMPZ in a statement said.
“But the implications of his comments are a source of grave concern, particularly his insinuation that the State media should exclusively serve his party’s political interests. Mugabe was also reported to have criticised Moyo’s appointment of some editors at these institutions on the basis of their previous employment or their perceived political affiliation.”