INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo yesterday hit out at what he described as a âfixationâ with sitting arrangements at the Zanu-PF Politburo on Wednesday during which the First Lady Cde Grace Mugabe sat next to President Mugabe.
In a first of its kind in Zimbabwe, Prof Moyo yesterday spent two hours answering questions on Twitter and a further three hours on Facebook under an initiative he dubbed Zimchat.
Privately-owned newspapers claimed the Zanu-PF secretary for Womenâs Affairs had âraised eyebrowsâ at what was her maiden politburo meeting by taking a seat next to the Zanu-PF leader, despite her position being lower down in the party hierarchy.
Prof Moyo, responding to a question on his Facebook page, appeared to laugh off the question before going on to state that the First Lady had sat next to the President during the Congress and Central Committee meetings, but no-one had ever become excited by it.
âWhereâs the fixation . . . coming from?â he asked.
âThe arrangement, if we can call it that, was not decided by Dr Grace Mugabe as suggested by your question. It was a matter of following well-established protocol in such circumstances.â
Prof Moyo said the Zanu-PF Womenâs League boss is Zimbabweâs First Lady and as such has always sat next to the President at party meetings such as Central Committee, Annual Peopleâs Conference or National Peopleâs Congress.
He said everyone saw her sitting next to the President at the 6th National Peopleâs Congress last December and nobody raised the kind of âdead questionsâ that the incident had excited.
âIf Dr Mugabe can sit next to the President at a Central Committee meeting, why canât she do the same at a politburo meeting given that the politburo is only a secretariat of the Central Committee? Yes, she is now the Secretary for Womenâs Affairs, but that does not change the fact that sheâs the First Lady,â he said.
The privately-owned NewsDay newspaper yesterday claimed the First Lady had âset tongues waggingâ and âfuelled speculation that she was being groomed to succeed Mugabe. . .â by merely sitting next to the President.
The top table, in past years, has been occupied by the Zanu-PF leader, his two deputies, the national chairman and secretary for administration.
Prof Moyo â who once vowed he would never go on social media âin a thousand yearsâ â had a change of heart on February 9 when he opened Twitter and Facebook accounts. Prof Moyo said he had a change of heart over the use of social media after President Mugabe named him Zanu-PFâs new secretary for science and technology in the Politburo last December.
Prof Moyoâs Twitter handle is â@ProfJNMoyoâ and he uses âProf Jonathan Moyoâ on Facebook.