Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mahoka, Moyo off the hook

By Mugove Tafirenyika

The ruling party has developed cold feet on its pronouncements about two months ago that it would press criminal charges against former women’s league executive members, Eunice Sandi-Moyo and Sarah Mahoka on allegations of abusing their respective offices.

Sarah Mahoka
Sarah Mahoka

Famed for publicly dressing down Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in front of President Robert Mugabe last year, Mahoka was the women’s league treasurer, while Sandi-Moyo was First Lady Grace Mugabe’s second in command.

Both were put under extreme pressure to resign from their positions in April on allegations that they had coerced businesspeople, corporates and local prophets to give them money in the name of the first lady, but converted it to personal use.

They were also held answerable for undermining the authority of Mugabe’s wife, with Mahoka facing another charge of denigrating Mnangagwa and presidential spokesperson George Charamba.

On the day they threw in the towel, Zanu PF’s spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, had emerged from a politburo meeting held on the same day to inform the nation that their resignation letters had been accepted by the party. He went on to state that they needed to pay back the money, estimated to be in excess of $100 000, or charges were to be preferred against them for criminally abusing their offices.

The Daily News can, however, exclusively reveal that no criminal charges would be preferred against Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka, as there is no political will in Zanu PF to bring in the police to investigate them.

As of yesterday, no such report had been made to the police.

Highly-placed Zanu PF insiders said the case had died a natural death just like many others that fizzled out for lack of a prima facie case again the alleged wrongdoers.

They said Mahoka and Sandi-Moyo’s removal from their positions in the Zanu PF women’s league was another typical case of “political banter”, which has become a common method in the ruling party of punishing those who would have fallen out with the powers-that-be.

In 2014, former vice president Joice Mujuru was accused of criminally abusing her office, with the police being unleashed on her to investigate a litany of allegations made against her.

Despite Zanu PF’s insistence that Mujuru was not off the hook yet, there is currently no evidence to suggest that the police would unearth something that would stick on her.

During a BBC interview with Steven Sackur in May 2015, former information minister Jonathan Moyo was to reveal that the allegations made against Mujuru were all part of political banter.

Another of Mujuru’s perceived allies, Nicholas Goche, was at the time accused of hatching a plot in the sugar-growing town of Chiredzi to assassinate Mugabe.

Goche, reports said, had volunteered to find a sniper who would shoot dead the president, an odious crime which attracts the death penalty if one is convicted of it, unless the person is a woman because the death penalty in the country only applies to men.

Mahoka told the Daily News on Monday that neither Zanu PF nor the police had spoken to her about it.

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“I have not heard anything regarding that issue ever since that time as I am working well with the party in my province and constituency. You could actually inform me if you have heard anything,” the Hurungwe East legislator said.

Efforts to obtain comment from Sandi-Moyo were futile.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Khaya-Moyo, referred questions to Zanu PF’s secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, who was not picking up calls to his mobile phone.

“The politburo accepted the women’s league recommendation, which was contained in the report accusing the two but maybe you will have to check with the secretary for administration to see if any follow up has been done regarding the funds,” he said.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba could only say: “I will have to check the record to see if any report was made against them but as of now I don’t know anything about it”.

Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka remain card-carrying members of Zanu PF and were replaced by Thokozile Mathuthu and Caroline Mugabe, respectively.

Ahead of the Zanu PF politburo meeting to discuss their fate in April, they had rushed to resign from their positions in the women’s league, in a development interpreted by their detractors as an attempt to save face.

Addressing the media after the meeting, Khaya Moyo said the politburo had accepted Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka’s resignations after Grace had presented a comprehensive report on their case.

“A litany of misconduct, errant and criminal behaviour was levelled against Sandi Moyo,” said Khaya Moyo adding that “they further have to pay back the funds they abused to the women’s league.”

“The next course of action rests with the women’s league because they are the aggrieved party in this matter. Perhaps the National Disciplinary Committee will also look into the issue. However, what is likely to happen is that if they do not pay back, criminal proceedings may have to be followed.”

He alleged that the women’s league executive had a dossier on how Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka abused the funds.

“I am not aware if there is a deadline for them to pay the money. The (women’s league national executive) has all the information on the nature of the cases.”

Mahoka made headlines last year during a rally at Zanu PF headquarters where she likened Mnangagwa to a duck for his silence in the Zanu PF succession matrix.

Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka allegedly also received $20 000 from Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development minister Jonathan Moyo and shared the loot.

They also allegedly took another $100 000 from PHD ministries founder, Walter Magaya, and shared it.

Before their resignations, Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka had seen a wave of demonstrations being held against them in all the provinces.

The women’s league has been closely linked to a party faction going by the name Generation 40 (G40), which is rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.

Mahoka and Sandi-Moyo were also among the group of women’s league members who have been aggressively pushing for the revival of the debate about the need for a woman to become one of Zanu PF’s two vice presidents as part of a quota system that aims to push women in leadership positions.

The quota system was used to parachute Mujuru into the presidium in 2004 but was abandoned in 2014 in order to bring her down.

Calls for the revival of the quota system were seen as directed against Mnangagwa, as the appointment of Phelekezela Mphoko, another of Mugabe’s deputies, was in line with the Unity Accord, signed in 1987 between Zanu PF and Zapu. In terms of the accord, the other vice president slot is reserved for a Zapu cadre, preferably the most senior among them.

There was, however, talk that Team Lacoste was trying to push Sandi-Moyo, who is a former Zapu cadre, to take over from Mphoko so that Mnangagwa would not be affected by the quota system. Daily News