By Xolisani Ncube
Jonathan Moyo, the Political Science professor, has a long standing love-hate relationship with President Robert Mugabe and many other Zanu PF stalwarts who cannot do without him. He is to them a “devil they would love to dine with”.
Moyo last week lost his cabinet post under a technicality. But party insiders said this could be his demise given his recent attitude towards those aligned to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa touted as Mugabe’s successor.
His fate is now in the hands of Mugabe who could either “appoint him or disappoint him” as Information minister or for any other cabinet post.
As things stand, Moyo has few friends in Zanu PF, with Mnangagwa and his group seemingly baying for his blood after he recently told a BBC Hardtalk programme that their godfather was still far from taking over from Mugabe who is now 91 years old.
Political analyst, Charles Mangongera said if indeed this was Moyo’s waterloo, then he was a victim of intra-factional wars, with people like Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere not safe at all.
“If indeed he [Moyo] has gone as we are made to understand, then all those in that group which calls itself Generation 40 must run for cover. It is just that Moyo was an easy target because of his rebellious history which is well documented.
However, another political analyst, Alexandra Rusero said starting to write Moyo’s political obituary would be wrong as the MP could bounce back, describing his latest setback as temporary.
“This is just a message from Mugabe that you don’t plan anything for the future when I am still alive. Moyo is a victim of Mugabe’s warning and certainly, he will rise again,” he said.
“Mugabe and Zanu PF know that Moyo is a useful massager, the best employee the party has ever contracted because he is able to deliver on anything assigned to him,” Rusero said.
For a man who before 1999 was a fierce critic of Mugabe’s leadership style and vocal in thwarting attempts to declare Zimbabwe a one-party state, Moyo has a testimony to tell of how he managed to win the heart and trust of Mugabe, even to the extent of appointing him the government spokesperson.
Analysts attribute Moyo’s survival in the political landscape to his gifted scheming and stamina to absorb attacks and rebukes.
His entrance into Zanu PF political arena has never been rosy. When he was appointed by the late Edison Zvobgo into the constitution-making commission, then chaired by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Moyo emerged as a strong and dynamic voice, defending the commission whose output was rejected by the people.
After the 2000 referendum, Moyo was appointed Information minister following Parliamentary elections held the same year and co-opted into the Zanu PF politburo where he deputised late national hero Nathan Shamuyarira in the information department.
The working relationship was never smooth with Shamuyarira at some point declaring the Tsholotsho North MP a CIA agent.
Despite the animosity between the two, Mugabe seemed impressed by Moyo’s work ethic and clarity on issues and his strong defence of Zanu PF at a time the party was under serious challenge from the newly formed MDC, which had performed well in the 2000 elections.
Soon after he settled in government, Moyo was allegedly sucked into the Zanu PF succession politics, becoming an integral member of the Mnangagwa-led faction. He was accused of organising meetings to plot how Mnangagwa was to get the vice-presidency slot which had fallen vacant following the death of Simon Muzenda in 2004.
In February 2005 he was kicked out of Zanu PF after he and six provincial chairpersons were accused of plotting to overthrow Mugabe during the now infamous “Dinyane” meeting in Tsholotsho.
He defied the odds and stood as an independent candidate for Tsholotsho, much to the anger of Mugabe who fired him from his cabinet, withdrawing his aides while he was unaware. his dismissal was sent via fax.
Moyo won the Tsholotsho seat as an independent, after which he reverted to being a ferocious critic of Mugabe between then and 2008.
He stood again as an independent candidate in the 2008 general elections and again won the Tsholotsho seat.
Ahead of the 2013 elections, Moyo who was back in Zanu PF worked as an election strategist for Mugabe and wrote the party’s manifesto which has been transformed into the country’s economic blue-print, ZimAsset.
Although he lost his Tsholotsho seat, Mugabe was pleased with his work and last year praised him for ensuring the party won elections and appointed him back into his government, giving him the key ministry of Information and making the government spokesperson.
Mugabe allegedly described Moyo as a “devil incarnate”, “a weevil” destroying the party through division at the burial of Nathan Shamuyarira.
Moyo emerged from the Zanu PF congress held in December. His position in government appeared secure until last week when Mugabe booted him out of Cabinet.
Through his influence in the state media, he ran a sustained propaganda campaign against Joice Mujuru and all those accused of being part of her camp which stood accused of plotting to assassinate Mugabe. The Standard