HIGHER and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s political career appears to be on the edge as top government and Zanu PF officials recently used State media to berate him ahead of a politburo meeting next Wednesday, where his conduct is likely to top the agenda.
Since last week, Moyo has been receiving brickbats from top government and Zanu PF officials angered by his use of social media platforms.
President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba set the ball rolling in a stinging interview aired on a private radio station last week. As Moyo fought back, Mugabe — who has consistently spoken against discussing party issues on social media — on Sunday called on warring factions to unite and stop abusing each other in public.
Since then, Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, war veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri have joined the fray, warning against the abuse of social media in comments that could be seen as directed at Moyo.
On Monday, Moyo said the Zanu PF politburo will discuss social media abuse by party officials at its next meeting, while Chombo reiterated that the ruling party only had one spokesperson, a message widely believed to be directed at the Tsholotsho North MP.
Charamba, in his admonition of Moyo, said he was speaking on behalf of Mugabe and the First Family, warning Moyo and the G40 group, before war veterans’ leaders threatened to bar him from attending Zanu PF meetings.
Led by Mutsvangwa, who doubles as War Veterans minister, the former freedom fighters have come out guns blazing accusing Moyo of all manner of misdemeanours, including deserting the liberation war.
Insiders said fissures have emerged within the G40 faction amid reports some of the group’s alleged leaders, Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and
Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao have been conspicuous by their silence.
“You can see that all is not well because the group’s most talkative characters have suddenly gone quiet,” a source said. “Some of them are actually approaching the other side in the dead of night providing details of the deeds by G40 and their plans.”
Mutsvangwa has dared Moyo to a legal fight.
“I can’t wait for the discovery of evidence that should lay bare the claims and falsehoods of this Gregory Rasputin reincarnation in Zimbabwe. The courts will hear all that,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The courts would love to hear all those pertinent briefs, verbal and written, that our Rasputin professor has been despatching and journalists will have a smorgasbord of titillating political gossip and with it the downright lies of garrulous machinations.”
Moyo, who normally uses micro-blogging site Twitter to lash out at opponents, is bracing for the war against him.
“Mutsvangwa thinks he can do to some of us what he did to Joice Mujuru with Charamba’s and (The) Herald’s help. Handei tione! (Let the action begin and see how it ends!),” he wrote yesterday.
Mujuru, the former Vice-President, was removed from her party and government positions, on allegations she was behind a plot to unseat Mugabe unconstitutionally, while Charamba, the veteran leader’s Press secretary, has emerged as Moyo’s nemesis in the internecine struggles for power in Zanu PF.
Yesterday, former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Temba Mliswa also waded into the fight as the storm clouds gathered around Moyo.
Mliswa defended the use of an army barracks for a war veterans’ meeting, something Moyo took issue with, saying the former freedom fighters are the army’s last line of defence and “an extended arm of the army”.
The former Zanu PF provincial chairman said it was disingenuous for Moyo to complain about the abuse of The Herald to settle political scores, as the Tsholotsho legislator had done the same in a bid to discredit Mujuru and her supporters.
It seems Moyo has also been frozen out by State media, as his statement hitting back at Charamba and Mutsvangwa went unreported, while The Herald has also described his penchant for social media as “frenzied tweeting”.
Moyo previously had unchallenged control of State media, but their lack of enthusiasm at his statement could indicate shifting attitudes.