The mainstream media would have us believe that President Robert Mugabe is to sack or reproach Information minister Jonathan Moyo over allegations of abusing the State-owned media for partisan interests.
Basing on Mugabe’s reported acerbic attacks and talk of weevils in the ruling Zanu PF party at the burial of Nathan Shamuyarira last Saturday the media has been hysterical to the point of stating that Moyo is in trouble.
Well, this is one much ado about nothing political drama, whose act will be so short and unmemorable to as many citizens as it may not happen and if indeed Moyo is dismissed, Mugabe will still be acting on a long outstanding, but now urgent issue of his succession.
Mugabe appointed Moyo to his Cabinet after the July 31 polls even as the Information minister had lost his Tsholotsho North seat to the MDC-T.
In other words, Mugabe loves Moyo so much that he rescued him from the political dustbin that he was headed to and appointed him to the powerful and influential Information, Media and Broadcasting Services ministry to shape Zanu PF’s messages and propagate them.
Having known Moyo’s kind of politics the first time he was Information minister, the Moyo we now see is a breath of fresh air and has taken a lead in redefining media relations, more so redefining Zanu PF’s approach to the media, from brawn to consensus building and consultation.
Despite all his faults, Moyo is blazing a new path in Zanu PF’s approach to business, much of it based on impulsiveness, illogicality, lack of consultation and a pathetic and condescending attitude towards the ordinary citizen.
It is this approach that angered the other faction in Zanu PF who at some point accused the media of moving too fast and being used by some in reporting corruption. Now it appears some factions have won over Mugabe’s support and we read in the media that Moyo is in trouble.
Until Mugabe fires Moyo, then Zimbabweans doubt all that they are reading even if the attacks on Moyo came from Mugabe himself.
I repeat Mugabe loves Moyo because he is one of the few, if not the only, thinking minister in that whole Cabinet. Others are pathetic bootlickers who even despite their old age kneel before Mugabe.
Mugabe is drawn to strategists and thinkers, more so those who can craft winning political strategies by hook or crook and that is what Moyo has done over the years.
In 2002 Mugabe was politically hanging on the ropes, all alone. His lieutenants had deserted him as he was sure to get a drabbing from MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
It was Moyo and the violent campaign launched by the security sector that saved Mugabe. I doubt Mugabe has that short a memory, but is also a crafty politician who survives and thrives on knocking heads.
He is the master politician of divide and rule, and will when necessary speak strongly against one faction in Zanu PF and seemingly supporting another only to flip within a short period.
This tactic has served him well. The hype on Moyo being in trouble is therefore nothing, but part of the grandmaster’s political strategy of keeping everyone on their toes and guessing what his next move will be.
If Mugabe decides to fire Moyo and others as is being speculated, then this will be the most clear indication on how he wants his succession handled as well as whom he probably prefers to take over after him.
Firing Moyo will be a signal to the other faction that he prefers the other side.
And doing nothing about Moyo is more typical of Mugabe that is making public statements which are then not followed upon by action.
The so-called attacks on Moyo could as well be a mere strategy to appease the restlessness within the other faction, not happy with Moyo’s control of the State media.
What the President said does not amount to change, but to what it is — appeasement.
I dare say no action will be taken against Moyo as that will heighten the whole succession debate at a time when Mugabe is barely halfway into his term of office.
In essence the faction opposed to Moyo and which went after him in that politburo meeting need not celebrate as nothing is changing. Mugabe as he has said will only leave when the “people” say so, and the people is him.
This brings us to another critical point in that all the factions in Zanu PF are looking for the blessings and support of the person they want to replace.
It makes news when Mugabe attacks Moyo because it is seen as an endorsement of the rival faction.
The factions in Zanu PF lack the stamina to engage in politics, but rather like children want Mugabe to be the referee. These are elements that are not prepared for power, and in their various ministerial portfolios sleep on the job.
And the fact that Moyo has boldly embarked on a path to reshape the media agenda in Zimbabwe demonstrates that he is not only a thinker, but a man of action, rightfully or wrongfully so.
The sheepish attitude to politics being demonstrated by those opposed to Moyo in Zanu PF captures their attitude to politics and the pursuit of power that is a sense of entitlement, more so that the State media must parrot their narrow views and a Zanu PF line.
The same grouping cannot point at anything they have done since July 31 apart from engaging in corruption and vain projects.
When corruption is exposed, they see that as an attack on Zanu PF and not an attack on a social evil. By seeking to control who even edits the State media, these elements also lack an understanding of how the media has changed over years and that with ICT so has society changed in its consumption of news.
Citizen views are no longer shaped by what the ZBC or The Herald says, but by as many sources of information the majority of whom are outside the control of Zanu PF.
In Moyo, Zanu PF has some hope in transforming itself from a feudal political grouping into a 21st century political party that relies less on violence and propaganda, but on networking, consultation and consensus building.
For these reasons, which I am sure the politically astute Mugabe realises and acknowledges, Moyo will remain where he is. The talk of a Mugabe and Moyo tiff is therefore much ado about nothing.