By Sibanengi Dube
HARARE – Desperate Zanu PF, terrified by the popularity of charismatic and young opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, is bringing back Jonathan Moyo to spearhead its propaganda blitzkrieg, just a few months before the general election next year.
Deficient of someone gifted and intelligent enough in their ranks, both at party and government level, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has swallowed his pride and turned to his nemesis to turn around his dwindling political fortunes.
Once allies until the Tsholotsho debacle, Mnangagwa and Moyo became noxious adversaries culminating in the professor making a damning presentation before the late former president Robert Mugabe and other Zanu PF bigwigs in which he accused the 80-year-old Zimbabwean leader, among other things, of forcing the late public relations and television personality Godfrey Majonga to leap from a second floor Avondale flat to the hard pavement below, leaving him crippled, over a woman who had two-timed them.
Moyo also laid bare clandestine political manoeuvres Mnangagwa was allegedly involved in to oust his ageing boss.
So, when Mnangagwa rode to power in 2017 on the back of armoured tanks, Moyo was one of his immediate primary targets. The former information czar and another former Cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere miraculously survived a hail of bullets as they fled to safety abroad. The political flip-flopper is now holed up in Nairobi, Kenya, while Kasukuwere is in neighbouring South Africa.
Moyo has been spewing blistering attacks on Mnangagwa from his bolthole in Nairobi, Kenya – his wife’s native country. He had earlier been seen in Mozambique on the back of a motorbike, as he teamed up with his comrade-in-arms Saviour Kasukuwere. Their next stop was South Africa where Kasukuwere has been living all along. Moyo proceeded to Nairobi to join his family. However, what will surprise many, is his latest somersault, given that the motor-mouthed professor had vowed never to go back to Zanu PF.
“It would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for me to go back to Zanu PF, let alone to support Emmerson Mnangagwa. Red lines were crossed in November 2017. I cannot go back to Zanu PF & still love my wife and kids. Zanu PF will never be everyone’s party, again!” tweeted Moyo then.
Moyo had sworn with his late father, Melusi Job Mlevu – a victim of Gukurahundi massacres that he would never ever jump into bed with Zanu PF again. Mlevu was killed by the 5 Brigade and CIO operatives on January 22, 1983 in Tsholotsho in front of his family.
“I always tell my father I regret I understood better after the damage had already been done that by joining Zanu PF to change it, I risked having Zanu PF changing me. I have assured him I am done with Zanu PF & that my family will disown me if I ever re-join it in any disguise, shape or form.”
But the political science professor, is now singing a different tune, on the fifth anniversary of the military coup that ousted Mugabe and marked the beginning of his life in exile.
Moyo and and Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, publicly apologised to Zanu PF and Mnangagwa for hobnobbing with Chamisa and for running the #ZanuPFmustgo# hashtag. The apology was however spiced with a thinly veiled attack as Moyo and Zhuwao accused ED of illegitimately taking power from the former President R.G Mugabe through a coup in November 2017.
“Accordingly, and on this day 15 November 2022, we hereby apologise to all of you comrades most sincerely and with profound regret for our wrong use of – and ill-advised association with – the hashtag ‘Zanu PG Must Go’ (#ZanuPFMustGo),” said Moyo and Zhuwao in a joint letter which has clearly paved his way back to both Zanu PF headquarters and Munhumutapa Building.
The politicians, however, admitted they supported Chamisa in 2018 elections but maintained they never sought to join his newly-formed CCC.
“For whatever it is worth, we supported Nelson Chamisa in the 2018 and well after that but we did not at any time in that process ever seek to join his MDC-A or the new CCC,” the pair said. It is not clear when or how such a political settlement was hammered out, but sources claim that Mnangagwa initiated the development during President William Ruto’s inauguration in Nairobi.
Moyo is said to have made specific demands:
*he wanted to replace Monica Mutsvangwa as information minister;
* he wanted total control of all government-controlled media; and
*he wanted to be deputy spokesman of Zanu PF, in a move that will obviously overshadow his boss Chris Mutsvangwa.
“There is a lot of dead wood in government-controlled media,” he is quoted to have said, “and I’m going to make many heads roll.”
Mnangagwa, through his emissaries agreed to all that on condition he publicly apologised to Zanu PF, to appease his many adversaries in the ruling party.
The timing of the apology is not by coincidence but designed to sanitise the 2017 coup which was executed on the same day.
A leading political commentator and an associate professor at Tshwane University of Technology’s Public Affairs Department, Prof Ricky Mukonza, warned that Moyo’s return into the Zimbabwe political equation will overshadow CCC’s election campaign.
“Moyo is in a class of his own when it comes to politics and political communication. While Fadzayi Mahere is not bad, Moyo will be a class above her.”
Mukonza said Moyo would bring with him a wealth of knowledge and history that Mahere doesn’t have.
The TUT professor said Mnangagwa will easily forgive Moyo and the rest of G40 team as he was safely in control of Zanu PF and Zimbabwe after having been overwhelmingly endorsed by the recent Zanu PF congress.
“In politics there are no permanent friends but permanent interests. Moyo may have uttered those words due to the prevailing situation and emotions. Now things may have changed, and he realises that ZANU PF could still be in power for some time to come. It may also be a vote of no confidence in the alternative to ZANU PF – the CCC.
Mukonza said there was nothing surprising about Moyo’s return to Zanu PF as it has happened before.
“One would recall how he reconciled with Mugabe and went on to be the party’s campaign chief. One thing that can’t be disputed is that the man has a sharp mind. Mnangagwa realised that Zanu PF lacks the political pedigree that Moyo brings. It is therefore a win situation for the two,” he said.
Anthony Jongwe, another Pretoria-based political scientist described Mnangagwa as Moyo’s political godfather.
“He (Moyo) is no stranger to ED as he was part of the Tsholotsho debacle which long sought to parachute Mnangagwa to the leadership of the revolutionary party. Mnangagwa has always been his godfather,” said Jongwe in an exclusive interview with Zimbabwe Observer.
Echoing Mukonza’s sentiments, Jongwe said the return of Moyo was bad news for the CCC.
“This also set the stage for the readmission of the rest of the so-called Gang of Four – Walter Mzembi, Kasukuwere and Zhuwao. The apology was as swift as its acceptance.
“A stronger and united Zanu PF is bad news for a structure-less and ideologically bankrupt opposition CCC party which, itself, is tottering on the verge of a split,” said Jongwe.
One of the remaining G40 members who requested anonymity told Zimbabwe Observer he was not part of Moyo and Zhuwao’s arrangement. However, the G40 member described Moyo as an invaluable asset to Mnangagwa in the coming elections with a capacity to run a media blitz that would leave Comical Ali and Goebbels green with envy.
“Just wait and see until he gets appointed in the information department of either government or party or both. He will turn the tables against Mnangagwa’s detractors. At any rate, Zanu PF can’t run an effective election campaign with Monica Mutsvangwa and Kindness Paradza at the helm.” – Zimbabwe Observer.