Who is fooling who? … President Robert Mugabe with higher education minister Jonathan Moyo
The nomination followed a series of endorsement declarations by the party’s various wings, notably the Women and Youth Leagues. It was not too different from what we hear the same structures saying today about the President’s endorsement for election 2018.
On December 7, the day after Zanu PF had endorsed its preferred candidate for Election 2008, Professor Jonathan Moyo was absolutely not impressed, and he was not only angry with the party’s decision, but he also questioned the rationality of the chosen candidate, whom he said had “miserably failed to demonstrate” that he was “a serious presidential candidate,” or that he could “best govern this battered country.”
It is now nine years after Prof Jonathan Moyo wrote the scathing attack on President Mugabe and the party Zanu PF, and he, interestingly, now considers himself the number one guarantor of the President’s continued tenure in office.
As opposed to President Mugabe failing to demonstrate seriousness, it is Jonathan Moyo who has miserably failed to demonstrate that he is a serious political commentator, or if he is, then he obviously does not take his own political commentary seriously. Everyone who knows the definition of seriousness knows that Moyo is not a serious politician.
It is only fair to respect the collective position of any political party, and that includes the declared collective position that President Robert Mugabe is the chosen Zanu PF candidate for Election 2018, but it becomes rather hard to contemplate the authenticity of such collectiveness when people like Jonathan Moyo champion it.
This is what Jonathan Moyo wrote in 2007 about President Mugabe’s participating in any national election:
“The simple truth is that Mugabe has no national reason to seek re-election, and that Zanu PF is being particularly irresponsible by allowing him to do that in this disgraceful manner….”
The only thing that has changed for Jonathan Moyo is that he wrote these things as an expelled former member of Zanu PF, and it appears from his current position of avid support for the President that he was merely grandstanding in bitterness at the time.
If he wasn’t then the only other sure possibility is that he is currently grandstanding in remarkable pretensions. The latter is a more plausible interpretation, and that is from however many the number of angels one might want to take a view.
When President Mugabe spoke to thank the people that had endorsed him at the 2007 congress, Jonathan Moyo accused him of putting up a “pathetic performance,” adding that “fair-minded Zimbabweans in and outside Zanu PF who had or still have a soft spot for him for one reason or another did not know whether to laugh or cry”.
Moyo went on to compare President Mugabe to Mohammad Ali, whom he accused of deciding to “unwisely agree to defend his world heavy weight boxing title against a young and agile Leon Spinks” in 1978.
Not only was Moyo critical of the personal decision by President Mugabe to accept the nomination from Zanu PF, but he also lambasted what he called “Zanu PF’s irresponsibility,” which had “caused it to fail to protect the national interest.”
Since Professor Moyo joined mainstream politics in 1999, he has always viewed and portrayed his opinion as the national interest.
At the time in question, he accused the President of thriving under the party’s failures, “in pursuit of his personal ambition to be president for life,” urging Zimbabweans “across the political divide to rise to the challenge by finding a united front to stop Mugabe and his cronies from turning their self-indulgence into a national catastrophe”.
It is either that Jonathan Moyo was simply bluffing in the bitterness of political wilderness at the time, or that he has perhaps joined the brigade that is turning its “self-indulgence into a national catastrophe.”
Given the accusations levelled against Moyo by the war veterans, and the general outlook of the operations of his G40 outfit, one is tempted to think that Jonathan Moyo is a very strong admirer of the culture of self-indulgence, and far less a genuine admirer of the President’s heroism.
President Mugabe gave a historically memorable speech at the 26th AU Summit early this year, marking the end of his term as the chair of the continental body. Jonathan Moyo showered the veteran politician with unparalleled praises for his indisputable wisdom and eloquence. He tweeted his praises quite enthusiastically.
The praises were in sharp contrast to how Moyo reacted to the President’s opening speech at the 2007 Zanu PF special congress, when he derided the speech as “insipid,’ adding it was “delivered in a cracking voice,” and that the speech had “shocking incoherence, irrelevance, and lack of inspiration.” Moyo even accused the President of representing “an unhappy past”.
Fast-forward to 2016, and we find Moyo reminding the nation that in fact the President represents a happy future, and an excellent past too. It is hard to believe that the President himself takes Moyo seriously, although Moyo clearly thinks he does.
Jonathan Moyo proudly says the 2014 Zanu PF special congress was a resounding success, notably for the ousting of the Joice Mujuru cabal.
Fair enough. Until one realises that, to Moyo, the 2007 special congress, was “a charade,” obviously because it was held in Moyo’s forced absence. Any resemblance this special congress might have had to the 2014 National Congress is purely coincidental, and totally irrelevant. The latter was absolute legality and legitimacy because it had Professor Moyo in attendance. Moyo has a very conditional sense of affection for Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe, where both are a hopeless charade if Moyo is not the centre of attraction.
Moyo correctly noted that Joice Mujuru was a disinterested entity in the affairs of Zanu PF as far back as 2007, and that all she was doing was dutiful acting. Well, she was doing it in no less way than Moyo is doing himself today.
It is hard to believe that Moyo means it when he says there is none other than President Mugabe qualified to lead our beloved country. The more Moyo says it, the more he sounds like a disinterested dutiful actor only interested in securing personal political interests.
So determined to rubbish Zanu PF was Jonathan Moyo that he even lambasted the then Secretary for Legal Affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa for failing to “appreciate the absurdity of asking a Zanu PF congregation … to ratify an Act of the Parliament of Zimbabwe”. For the benefit of the reader, the special congress had just ratified Amendment 18 of the old Constitution, making way for the 2008 harmonised elections.
It is only a Zanu PF Politburo gathering in which Jonathan Moyo seats that can legitimately ratify the Economic Indigenisation Act without any sense of absurdity; not some stupid congress gathered at a time the political genius stands expelled, like was the case with this charade of a congress in 2007. So goes the Moyo logic.
Moyo wrote scathingly attacking what he termed “manipulative powers” within Zanu PF, and even suggested that the people who “read the strange resolutions in support of Mugabe’s candidacy did not know what they were doing”. He wrote of “desperate efforts to impose Mugabe’s candidacy on an unwilling but helpless ruling party now incapacitated by deep divisions”. Would Jonathan Moyo say the same thing about President Mugabe’s candidacy for 2018? Surely not.
With Jonathan Moyo within the ranks of the party, Zanu PF suddenly becomes democratic, united, strong, and very much capacitated, and of course the candidacy of the President becomes unquestionably unanimous.
Back then everyone who played a role in the nomination of President Mugabe as the 2008 presidential candidate was castigated, starting with Joice Mujuru, to Joseph Msika, John Nkomo, Emmerson Munangagwa, down to poor Eliot Manyika; everyone was just plain wrong.
Things can only be done the right way with Jonathan Moyo being part of the process. This is what defines Moyo’s affection for President Mugabe, which in fact is a passion for his own political survival, a passion for self-glorification, a passion for self-ambition, and a passion for self-admiration.
Zanu PF had factions at the time Jonathan Moyo was launching his attacks, and even before that; and the party is riddled with factionalism today, even more so. Moyo rightly noted that the purported affection for President Robert was not genuine, and that it was simply a way of spiting between the factions. This is what Jonathan Moyo wrote at the time:
“The tragedy in Zanu PF is that its leading factions, especially those associated with Solomon Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa, are now using their mutual hatred as a way of expressing their support for Mugabe. The divisions between these factions has widened and deepened as they compete to prove which faction supports Mugabe more than the other. One can only imagine what would happen if these factions were to unite against Mugabe in support of Zimbabwe”.
Today we have the G40 and Lacoste factions, and there is no doubting the mutual hatred between the two warring factions. Jonathan Moyo, for some reason, hates Emmerson Mnangagwa with a passion, as is the case with all his other comrades in his faction of choice, and clearly the hatred is mutual from the other side.
Both factions declare undying love and adoration for the President, and both say the President is not going anywhere, and that no one should even imagine his departure, unless they are unscrupulous “successionists”, a term coined and popularised by Jonathan Moyo himself.
The affection for the President is expressed in the most impressive of manners from across the factional divide in Zanu PF, but is the affection genuine?
This writer believes that the President is surrounded by pretenders who only see him as a useful tool in the waging of factional wars, and that is why there is very little support for the President in terms of the implementation of government policy.
There is very little willingness for work in the President’s appointed Cabinet. There is an indisputable will to squabble for political control of party processes, but almost no one seems to be keen to commit to matters of national governance. It is a sad indictment for national development, a tragedy of monumental proportions, a sorry state of affairs for the people of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe, we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!!
REASON WAFAWAROVA is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.