By Chris Goko and Wonai Masvingise
HARARE – Zanu PF politburo member and serial political flip-flopper Jonathan Moyo has virtually branded factional leaders in his party “riff-raff and shallow-minded schemers”, in a move likely to cause further divisions in the 49-year-old movement.
Although the Tsholotsho North legislator has tried to project himself as the only leading light and veritable defender of President Robert Mugabe’s legacy, and policies, his latest outbursts may turn out to be a fatal miscalculation — seven years after he was banished for helping organise a leadership change retreat in Matabeleland North.
“…the most critical failure of the nationalist movement in Zimbabwe today is the rise of factionalism to its current shocking levels. While this has been bad enough, what has made it particularly worse is that the type of factionalism which has taken root within our nationalist movement is content free in ideological and policy terms,” Moyo said in a recent opinion piece.
“This is terrible because when factionalism has no ideological or policy content it means it is only a personal project of an individual with no public or national purpose of value and invariably ends up becoming private, tribal or regional,” he said, adding that the wish-wash nature of Zanu PF politics or factionalism reflected itself only in “names of some fancied individuals without ever saying what the named individuals stand for or represent”.
A highly-divisive and erratic character, the ex-junior minister described the Zanu PF factions as a loose coalition of “shallow-minded patronage seekers” who support particular individuals because they have “a circumstantial leadership opportunity to occupy either the presidency of Zanu PF or Zimbabwe or both in pursuit of private interests”, yet they are bereft of well-defined national benefits.
With the party splintered along four camps allegedly led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Joice Mujuru, among others, a fulminating Moyo has also accused certain groups vying to replace the octogenarian leader of working through the Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) to unseat Mugabe.
So strident and abusive has been his criticism of the intra-party organisation that he has even called it a “mafia outfit”.
Apart from his corrosive language and role in the enactment of regressive laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act under which several newspapers — including the Daily News were shut down — Moyo has not only courted revulsion in and out of Zanu PF, but has also been seen as a destabilising factor in the vanquished party.
Alois Chaumba, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace chairman, on Thursday dismissed the ex-academic as a serial attention seeker.
“I think Moyo is trying to find relevance in the political scheme by continuing to lambast the constitution-making process,” he said.
Just as Moyo’s fellow Zanu PF member and Copac co-chairman Paul Mangwana argued two weeks ago, political analyst Ernest Mudzengi said Moyo’s incessant attacks on the constitution-making process and, by extension, rivals smacked of a hidden agenda.
“I think that… is a case of cheap politicking. It is basically designed to make Zimbabwe go to elections without reform. A new constitution is likely to change the political framework and Moyo is part and parcel of the group that wants to maintain the current framework,” he said.
While the National Constitutional Assembly’s Blessing Vava partially agreed with the former political science lecturer’s attack on Copac, he said Moyo was not entirely honest as he “harboured ulterior motives”. Another political commentator and Zanu PF official Chris Mutsvangwa sided with Moyo, saying Copac was verily sailing away from the people’s mandate.
“This is supposed to be a people-driven process (and) what they are doing is contrary to the expectations, and management of Copac,” the former Zimbabwean ambassador to China said.
“Some of them are of dubious backgrounds. They want to infuse the document with their own concept of how the country must be run. They are bringing in foreign ideals into the document,” Mutsvangwa said.
“Whether they are from Zanu PF or MDC, they (are)… a group, which is totally alien to the people. Some of them… do not appreciate the sacrifice made by people who fought for the liberation of this country,” he added.
Without criticism, the Harare businessman said, there was no way any organisation could survive and succeed.
“They are nowhere near American intellectuals who wrote the American constitution. They were revolutionary. This is why… America has a successful constitution. All those involved in Copac… are not revolutionary. They do not have the interests of this country at heart,” he said.
Although Moyo is firmly believed to be batting in Mugabe’s corner, his latest barbs — if not guns — are reportedly on Mnangagwa’s camp, which he once worked with in the 2004 Tsholotsho debacle. A soloist and Zanu PF lone ranger, the nerdy and haughty politician is also seen as the hand behind a highly-ambitious group calling itself Generation 40.
Following his alleged “squealing” of top Zanu PF secrets and strategies, including Mugabe’s health, to American diplomats in recent years, the controversial man was described by one envoy as “a useful messenger”. Given his divisive streak and nature, Moyo has also taken sustained aim at Sadc facilitator President Jacob Zuma in a move that has further alienated Mugabe and the country at its hour of greatest need. — WeekendPost