By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
HARARE – Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Jonathan Moyo, has escalated his Twitter war of words with Trevor Ncube, the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) owner and a former friend, accusing the publisher of trying to bribe him.
Moyo and Ncube took to Twitter on Sunday to trade insults in a war whose origins remain a mystery. AMH publishes NewsDay, The Standard, The Zimbabwe Independent and the South Africa-based Mail and Guardian.
Moyo used to enjoy acres of space at AMH where he recently made telling revelations about his fallout with a Zanu (PF) faction led by Emmerson Mnangangwa which also involved the generals.
Moyo, who was Ncube’s best man at the latter’s wedding, started off the spat, blaming the AMH boss for using Twitter to attack him and his family for more than a month.
He claimed that he had proof that Ncube had in 2013 attempted to bribe him so that he could get a radio licence. At that time, Moyo was still the information minister and was moved to his current ministry during a cabinet reshuffle in mid-2015.
The government had invited prospective radio licencees to apply for registration, but Ncube’s AMH was turned down.
The MP then claimed that he had proof that Ncube tried to bribe him in 2013 when he was still the information minister so that he could be awarded a radio licence.
“Trevor Ncube has gone full circle from wishing to be a Media Baron to becoming a Media Barbarian,” said Moyo in one of his tweets.
“It’s barbaric to say a person must prove they are not what YOU allege they are. He who alleges MUST PROVE! Only a BARBARIAN will allege you’re sleeping with your neighbour’s wife & challenge you to prove you are not!
“YOU know I’m not corrupt. In 2013/14 YOU tried IN VAIN to CORRUPT me to get YOU a radio licence! You CORRUPTLY pleaded for a licence outside laid down procedures & sent a nice tweet thereafter,” he added.
According to the minister, Ncube sent two people asking to throw the radio licence adjudication in his favour, saying he still held the messages that the media baron sent him.
Ncube unsuccessfully tried to meet up with him in Johannesburg, South Africa where the publisher is based, charged Moyo, who further claimed that the media owner proposed to promote his political career.
However, in return tweets, Ncube dismissed Moyo’s accusations.
“We must not be intimidated by public officials who turn nasty when put under scrutiny…We all have a duty to hold public officials to account.
“That is all I am doing. You are such a discredited politician and propagandist @ProfJNMoyo; only you believe these bizarre claims,” tweeted Ncube.
Ncube said Moyo at one time tried to silence The Zimbabwe Independent when it reported on the minister’s alleged embezzlement of funds while working for the Ford Foundation.
In the war of words that lasted for the better part of Sunday, Moyo returned fire on Ncube, saying he was responsible for AMH’s prevailing financial woes due to his lavish lifestyle in South Africa.
He urged Ncube to disclose the source of funding for his organisation, which State media in the past has said were outside donors bent on regime change.
Moyo recently dug out Ncube’s controversial personal life, saying he was a wife-basher and tribalist.
In 1994, Ncube’s wife, Eva Muzuva, sought a protection order from the courts on allegations that he was in the habit of assaulting her.
Muzuva claimed in her court application that Ncube had called her a “stupid Zezuru and wished he had married from his own tribe”.
Ncube has Ndebele ethnic origins and hails from southern Zimbabwe while the Zezurus are the dominant tribe in Zimbabwe.