By Professor Ken Mufuka
In responding to attacks by Africa’s leading businessman Strive Masiyiwa, Professor Jonathan Moyo, Africa’s leading intellectual prostitute replied in a manner typical of him. Moyo is willing to meet Masiyiwa pound for pound and his lawyer Tawanda Nyambirai can go to hell. This is war.
My advice is that a person with the most to lose is Masiyiwa. He has a reputation and a mission to prosecute. Moyo is already well known for his mercenary propensities. Moyo is what Americans call a dirty fighter.
Let me explain my position. In 1984, I had just returned to Zimbabwe from the US and was working as a director of National Museums. I had taken a short course in taking very important visitors at the British Museum but Minister Stanley Mudenge was jealous when I was tasked to host Prince Charles.
Mudenge said bad words and misbehaved terribly and I being young and foolish, carried out my threat to “write him up” in my column in the Sunday Mail.
The response was vicious and Sunday Mail editor, my friend, Willie Musarurwa lost his job over my column. Years later, another editor, when Jonathan Moyo became Minister of Information, editor Funny Mushava was given a choice, keep the column and you are out.
Moyo went further, instructed Kingston Bookshops, which was selling my book, popular with Form Four English composition students to be removed and delivered to my mother’s house in Harare.
At that time I had in my belt a Reuters International Award for best foreign correspondent and the book was going through its third printing.
Employing his attorney, Masiyiwa will be accused by Moyo of employing mercenary lawyers against him.
Already Masiyiwa has made a horrible mistake. It appears that Masiyiwa threw some punches and when the dirty fighter returned with all the weapons in his arsenal, Masiyiwa wanted the courts to intervene.
Masiyiwa should have known that he was fighting a professional gladiator who can rebrand himself with nine lives at his disposal.
No Sir, those are the rules. If you enter into a fight with a dirty fighter, you must expect to be muddied. Moyo has no honor to protect. Masiyiwa should not encourage his wife, Ms. Tsitsi into the ring. What if the gladiator says that he saw Ms. Tsitsi with a boyfriend?
Please ndapota hangu, (I beg you) you are too honorable to enter into the ring with a dirty fighter.
Another point is that Professor Jonathan Moyo is what we call in journalism school, good copy. If, for instance, Moyo says “Masiyiwa can go to hell!’, it is news “big time” and we are bound by our profession to publish it.
My defense of Masiyiwa
My learned brother George Ayitei from Ghana came to the conclusion that such dirty operatives like Moyo, intellectual prostitutes, who abandoned otherwise honorable careers in order to defend despicable governments in exchange for thirty pieces of silver, were partly responsible for Arica’s inability to escape despotism and poverty.
That is enough condemnation.
Accusation number one:
My friend Ken Yamamamto at the Japanese Institute of African Studies has detailed the long journey Masiyiwa took against the opposition of Robert Mugabe to establish his business, Econet. Moyo says that the fall-out between Mugabe and Masiyiwa came about because of a shoddy job Masiyiwa’s Retrofit Company had done in Murombedzi, Mugabe’s home township.
To cut a long story short, contractors had done work at Mugabe’s Highfield home and other places and had never presented him with an invoice for payment. Mugabe was not only shocked that Masiyiwa expected to be paid. I met the man who intervened and told Mugabe: “Mufana must be paid.” Mugabe’s retort was that “But nobody has ever asked me to pay them before.”
Moyo is wrong on this one. There is plenty of evidence that “Machef” do not expect to pay for services rendered.
Accusation number two (numbered 5/24) is that Masiyiwa is a Pharisee, says mighty making himself to be self-righteous while his deeds do not match the words from his mouth especially about human rights.
Moyo is referring to the incident when Masiyiwa sought the help of Zimbabwe’s secret service to break into the SOURCE, a news organization that had published some confidential material. Nyambirai defends that action.
No Sir, newspapers are sacrosanct. If a church hides a murderer, the police cannot break into the sanctuary. They must wait outside until the murderer, out of hunger, comes out.
The proper defense of a humble man is to say that mistakes were made and on the whole, Masiyiwa’s entire life is a witness to a life well lived. Do not defend what is indefensible; remember that Moyo is a trained acrobat. He will see such a weakness and will feast on it.
Accusation number three is probably the most egregious.
Moyo says that Masiyiwa is holier than thou and that he hunts with the dogs and runs with the hairs. As evidence, he produces a dossier about Econet’s willingness to pay its licensing fees in advance in 2013, knowing full well that ZANU-PF wanted the money in order to by-pass United Nations “conditionalties” (American English) imposed on the Electoral commission.
Masiyiwa, by 2013, had grown in wisdom and knew the ways of the earth. It cannot be denied that at one point or another, he would have known ZANU-PF’s intent.
Here is the real explanation. It is my custom, when visiting, to make courtesy calls on all the high and mighty in my home area. One day I was sitting I the visitors lounge as the movers and shakers came and went. ZANU-PF was planning their annual conference. The conversations went something like this.
“Ask Sugar Triangle to give us $50 000 for the conference.” A voice said.
Another voice said; “We need five carcasses to feed the people.”
Coming from the US, this was a life threatening situation for me. For our readers, was ZANU-PF begging these companies to make tax deductible donations to their conference? A brother of mine, who ran butchery, closed after that conference.
Moyo writes that at the pre-election committee he was part of, ZANU_PF was authorized to:” Get Econet and diamond companies to fund the elections to avoid UN funding.”
Moyo mentions the figure of $77.5 million and that this money was to be paid in a foreign escrow account. These accounts are called slush funds in the US and are used for clandestine operations.
The diamond companies in question were Mbada, a front company for Mugabe, ACR, a front company for Joice Mujuru, Guveya, a front for Augustine Chihuri and Einjin, a Chinese front Compnay for ZANU-PF.
A study of Chindori-Chininga’s parliamentary committee, 2009-2013 shows that these companies did not pay taxes. The revelation also shows why the principals of these companies remained loyal to Mugabe.
Simon Muzenda once told me that “ukakangaanwa kumusha, tinotora.” The rule is that if you want to play, you must pay your tithes for life. Our readers, will surmise, if I have made my point that Masiyiwa had the same choice as my friend the butcher. Pay or close.
Moyo of course goes for the kill.
“The illegality and rot over the Econet situation in 2013 starts with the fact that its license renewal did not follow a transparent process as prescribed by law. Instead it followed an open -ended scratch my back I scratch your back process between ZANU-PF and Masiyiwa.”
Where does this leave our veritable intellectual prostitute, Jonathan Moyo? By selective administration of facts, he condemns a brother who was doing his best under the circumstances, to protect his company.
Peace be with you.
Professor Ken Mufuka is the holder of Reuters Best Foreign Correspondent Award and many other awards. He writes from the USA. He has written nine books, the latest one (with Cyril Zenda) Life and Times of Robert Mugabe: Dream Betrayed took ten years to research.
It is now available in Zimbabwe at Innov Bookshops in Harare, TMP &Pay, Blacksone and Vigne Bookshops in Bulawayo. For those in the Diaspora see his website at kenmufukabooks.com or contact him at [email protected]