Twitter-gate: Defiant Prof Moyo digs in

HIGHER and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo has laughed off suggestions he could be dragged before a Zanu PF disciplinary committee for his continued “abuse of social media” to attack fellow party members.\r\nBy XOLISANI NCUBE\r\n\r\nMoyo on Thursday insisted he only uses social media to defend President Robert Mugabe, despite claims he may have stepped on a number of people’s toes in doing so, including Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.\r\n\r\nThis was after national party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo told NewsDay on Wednesday that the former Information minister would soon be brought to a disciplinary hearing over his defiance of party orders.\r\n\r\n“It’s one thing to use social media to defend the President, party and country, and another to use it to attack anyone,” he said.\r\nJonathan-Moyo-2\r\n\r\nAsked if he would be deleting his Twitter account ahead of the impending disciplinary hearing, Moyo emphatically retorted “hell no”.\r\n\r\nKhaya Moyo could not be reached for comment over Moyo’s defiance.\r\n\r\nMugabe recently ordered party officials to refrain from attacking each other on social media platforms.\r\n\r\nBut the defiant Moyo on Thursday posted another salvo on his Twitter handle, describing party officials wishing to discipline him as “dreamers and wishful people”.\r\n\r\nMoyo, who was not available on his mobile phone to clarify his statements, further told a follower that there was no chance of him appearing before a disciplinary hearing.\r\n\r\n“If wishes were horses you would be the only troll riding,” he responded.\r\n\r\nMoyo’s activity on social media came under the spotlight when he seemed to chastise Mnangagwa after he insinuated Mugabe would be “missed”.\r\n\r\nMoyo took exception to the statement describing it as akin to writing Mugabe’s obituary “while he was still alive”.\r\n\r\nThis prompted some Zanu PF hardliners to accuse Moyo of abusing social media to air his concerns in violation of Mugabe’s order.\r\n\r\nMoyo, who is reportedly linked to a group within Zanu PF calling itself Generation 40, defended his social media remarks saying although he was not above the law, he was not attacking anyone.\r\n\r\nZanu PF national disciplinary committee chairman Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday declined to comment over the matter.\r\n\r\nHe abruptly switched off his mobile phone when this reporter identified himself.\r\n\r\nThe party’s constitution is silent on issues of defiance, although it has clauses under the general provisions to drag Moyo to a hearing through article 262(c), which deals with gross misconduct.\r\n\r\n“Any member holding office at any level of the party, who has been found guilty of gross misconduct shall be liable to disciplinary action by an appropriate organ,” read part of the constitution.\r\n\r\nZanu PF has no social media policy or rules and the party’s constitution does not specify how its members behave on such platforms.\r\n\r\nPolitical analyst Alexander Rusero said Moyo was exercising his constitutional right to air his views on any matter that has a direct impact on his life.\r\n\r\n“Zanu PF cannot prescribe what its members should do in their private lives, including social media,” he said.\r\n\r\n“More so, Jonathan Moyo is the secretary for technology in the party and if he is not there to speak his mind, then the party is lost.\r\n\r\n“It is unfortunate that some people in Zanu PF catch a cold whenever Moyo sneezes.”\r\nAcademic and political commentator Ibbo Mandaza said Moyo’s seemingly open disregard of Mugabe’s directive “betrays his relationship with the President”, which others do not enjoy. – NewsDay