PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has reportedly gagged Information minister Jonathan Moyo from making disparaging public comments against his Zanu PF counterparts and government officials over the next four years as part of efforts to contain him, NewsDay has learnt.
The alleged order was made at a private meeting at State House last Monday between Mugabe and Moyo following the veteran leader’s successive vitriolic attacks on his Information minister last week describing him as “a weevil” and a divisive element bent on destroying the party from within.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa also attended the meeting.
“It is in that meeting that Mugabe admonished Moyo to stop making comments against other party members until the next elections in 2018,” a source close to the developments told NewsDay.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba confirmed that Mutasa was part of the meeting, but declined to give further details.
Although Mutasa could not be reached for comment yesterday, he last week told a party meeting in Mutare to shun Moyo and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, describing them as “weevils” and divisive elements.
Sources told NewsDay the sharp-tongued Moyo’s political career was now hanging by a thread after Mugabe ordered him to zip up his mouth for the next four years or lose his ministerial position.
According to sources, a section in the military opposed to Moyo is believed to have approached Mugabe demanding an explanation on why Moyo had been pardoned.
Mugabe is said to have defended his decision by saying he would not fire Moyo because he was not the only divisive element.
Moyo had on several occasions clashed with top Zanu PF officials, among them Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Temba Mliswa, over his anti-corruption drive which was viewed as targeting officials linked to Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s camp.
Moyo has ruffled feathers with Indigenization minister Francis Nhema over the interpretation of the country’s indigenisation laws, former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri over the ban on a proposed march to commemorate World Media Freedom Day.
Addressing mourners at the late national hero Nathan Shamuyarira’s burial two weeks ago, Mugabe accused Moyo of using the public media to divide the party.