ZANU PF succession protagonists Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo came eyeball to eyeball in a titanic battle for President Robert Mugabe’s attention as the ruling party’s politburo meeting turned into a political theatre on Wednesday.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Moyo reportedly brought with him television monitors and projectors that were initially denied entry by security personnel before he was allowed in.
Highly-placed sources said Moyo, who had initially threatened to present video evidence to back claims that Mnangagwa wanted to topple Mugabe, instead made a PowerPoint presentation with still pictures as he sought to nail the VP.
But Mnangagwa, according to sources, discounted Moyo and asked Mugabe for an opportunity to expose Moyo “for the spy that you are”.
The Vice-President reportedly brought a report that “links Moyo to a foreign spy agency” and dismissed most of the Higher Education minister’s accusations in the no-holds barred meeting.
“Instead of video evidence as he had threatened, Moyo claimed through still pictures with a background voice-over explaining them in the PowerPoint presentation that Mnangagwa had captured key State institutions as part of a sinister scheme to become the Zanu PF (presidential) candidate.
“The President, as usual, seemed disinterested, but Moyo showed pictures of the VP (Mnangagwa) holding the mug that was inscribed ‘I am the Boss’. There were also pictures of newspaper cuttings with stories mainly to do with war veterans and their position regarding Mnangagwa’s candidature as a possible successor to the President,” NewsDay heard.
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Moyo, sources said, also produced pictures showing former Zanu PF Mashonaland Central youth chairperson Godfrey Tsenengamu, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa, party activist Energy Mutodi and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga claiming they were all supportive of Mnangagwa’s candidacy.
Another politburo source said: “Moyo claimed institutions such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission had been captured by Mnangagwa and his acolytes and were now being used against those opposed to his ‘successionist plot’. Moyo also raised the issue of the late former Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, arguing the Vice-President had tried unsuccessfully to force him into early retirement.”
The politburo sources added Moyo was said to have accused Mnangagwa of funding demonstrations by pro-democracy groups as well as the opposition.
In response to the accusations, Mnangagwa reportedly mockingly “applauded” Moyo for the effort, but threw everything back at Mugabe.
“We want to congratulate Moyo and his team, including journalists (names withheld), for coming up with such a documentary,” Mnangagwa reportedly told the politburo.
The insiders added: “The Vice-President turned to President Mugabe and asked if he had not apprised him on everything regarding the Chidyausiku debacle, to which he responded in the affirmative. It was revealed that Chidyausiku before his formal retirement had requested to remain on the job to finalise certain ‘issues’.”
NewsDay also heard that Mnangagwa told Moyo that he had not pitched up at Dinyane for the infamous 2004 Tsholotsho Declaration on the fateful day “because we are politically mature”.
According to sources, Mnangagwa reportedly brought a report that “links Moyo to a foreign spy agency” and rubbished reports that he had captured State institutions to do his bidding in the succession fights.
“He (Mnangagwa) argued that he does not have power to appoint and remove anyone in the identified State institutions, and accused Moyo of ignorance in Statecraft and institutional procedures.
“Mnangagwa said he would also need time to make a presentation and show evidence of Moyo’s links with Western intelligence agencies. This is likely to happen at the next politburo meeting,” NewsDay was told.
Mnangagwa reportedly asked Mugabe for the meeting to revert to the issue of national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, to which the President agreed and Kasukuwere was put to his defence.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, who led a fact-finding mission to Mashonaland Central in the wake of demonstrations against Kasukuwere on allegations of plotting to unseat Mugabe, reportedly turned “prosecutor”.
“It was flimsy and Mudenda quashed much of Kasukuwere’s defence. The matter was then deferred, but there was a feeling that the First Lady (Grace Mugabe) is protecting him while the President either wants to redeploy Kasukuwere or fire him altogether,” another source said.