By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
09 June 2014
Just days after the media reported on a social media campaign supporting Jonathan Moyo for the country’s presidency, ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe reportedly blasted him for using the media to plant seeds of division within ZANU PF.
The attack on Moyo reportedly began Friday at the wake for the late former cabinet Minister, Nathan Shamuyarira, where Mugabe accused him of appointing editors at Zimpapers who were sourced from outlets with a ‘regime change agenda’.
The independent Daily News said Mugabe referred to Moyo as “the devil incarnate” while The Standard newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying Moyo was “using the media to fan divisions within the party”. The ageing leader referred indirectly to Moyo as a “weevil” that has infiltrated the party.
The Information Minister recently used state-owned newspapers to expose corruption by top ZANU PF officials, who were earning exorbitant salaries at non-performing institutions. But they were all from one faction fighting to succeed Mugabe as party leader and President.
Political analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga said the reporting of these so-called scandals in the media appears to have been driven by factional fighting within ZANU PF, and not necessarily by the desire and need to address corrupt practices in those institutions.
“I think his ire really stems from the fact that some of the editors of these papers who were appointed recently actually were very ardent critics of ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe’s person,” Mhlanga explained. He added that there are more issues at play than just merely the state media’s obligation to portray a particular party line.
ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told the Standard that Mugabe had ordered an investigation into Moyo’s appointments of editors at Zimpapers, during a cabinet meeting last Wednesday. Gumbo is quoted as saying: “What I know is that the President said the appointments should be investigated. He never said the editors should be withdrawn.”
The anti-Moyo rant reportedly continued at the Heroes Acre, where Shamuyarira was buried on Saturday. Mugabe told mourners the media should be used to help define the country’s values, rather than “sell-out” or attack colleagues in the party.
As Moyo and other ministers endured his usual long rants, Mugabe said: “Do not plant seeds to divide the people. Do not make anyone in the party a political enemy. Your ideas may differ but do not be enemies. If that is your ideology then it is a destructive ideology.”
Mugabe said the party had been infiltrated by “zvipfukuto”, a bug that is known to destroy maize crop by boring into the seed and inhibiting growth, and he stressed that these had to be dealt with.
Moyo’s fortunes had recently appeared to be changing, as he has been commenting on several key issues on behalf of ZANU PF, while Mugabe’s usual spokesperson George Charamba seemed to be taking the back seat.
This is the second time that Mugabe and Moyo have clashed. The so-called “serial flip-flopper” was suspended from ZANU PF back in 2004 following the now infamous Tsholotsho Declaration, a failed meeting that sought to undermine Joice Mujuru’s campaign for her current position as vice president.