Jonathan Moyo engineered Mugabe's "landslide victory" – Nyarota
PAULINE Mahoya is the second wife of former Midlands provincial governor, July Moyo, who was also the chairman of the Midlands provincial executive of Zanu-PF.
Mahoya, who was the information secretary in the office of the President and Cabinet, lives in the Harare suburb of Avondale, close to St Anne’s Hospital.
It is in this house that her husband, who was suspended from the Zanu-PF provincial chairmanship at the height of the Tsholotsho debacle, regularly hosted meetings with key strategists in Mugabe’s run-off election campaign during the months of May and June.
Following the poor showing of President Mugabe against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the March 29 presidential election key Mugabe ally, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who chairs the powerful Joint Operations Command had decided not to leave anything to chance in preparing the campaign for the presidential election re-run on June 27.
He approached close political ally, Professor Jonathan Moyo who, as Information Minister, engineered Mugabe’s election controversial and much violent election campaign in 2002. When approached by Mnangagwa in May Moyo was basking in the success of his electoral victory in the constituency of Tsholotsho on March 29.
A number of strategic and high-powered meetings were convened in the Moyo’s Avondale residence. Three suspended Zanu-PF provincial chairmen were co-opted into the campaign team – Jabulani Sibanda of Bulawayo, who is also the chairman of national war veterans association, Mike Madiro (Manicaland), who attended only two of the meetings, and July Moyo, the suspended Midlands chairman.
Jonathan Moyo was dismissed from the position of Minister of Information at the height of the Tsholotsho saga. Also in attendance was Christopher Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to Beijing, China. A close confidante of Mnangagwa, Mutsvangwa was recalled from Beijing last year.
Lawrence Tanda, a member of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission also attended.
Tanda is said to be an aide to Mnangagwa and represents him on the ZEC.
"While he is only a junior official he is so feared on the ZEC that even the chairman, George Chiweshe, defers to him," said one source. "He was Mnangagwa’s man on the commission."
These are the men who formulated and implemented the strategy for the election campaign of President Robert Mugabe in the few weeks ahead of the June 27 runoff election. Mnangagwa vested overall responsibility in Jonathan Moyo, his most important ally within the group. Moyo’s strength was his previous experience running Mugabe’s presidential campaign in 2002.
"Jonathan Moyo was approached by Mnangagwa and invited to run the presidential election campaign," said the source who spoke on condition he was not identified. "The decision to meet at Pauline Mahoya’s house was taken to avoid arousing obvious suspicion if this group was seen in the company of Jonathan Moyo, either in government offices or in a hotel.
"This was the Dingane crew re-assembled. They were determined to deliver victory to Mugabe in the hope that their suspensions would be lifted."
The meeting which culminated in the Tsholotsho saga in 2004 was convened by Jonathan Moyo at Dingane School in his constituency. For him the stakes were greater. Moyo is said to have designed or created the bulk of the messages for the campaign material and advertising, relying heavily on material from the 2002 campaign. The messages were more powerful than those of the March 29 election. Within Zanu-PH Mugabe’s defeat in March was partly blamed on a poor campaign.
Staff in a department at the University of Zimbabwe was recruited to translate messages into Shona and Ndebele. One of them confirmed he had been recruited by Moyo.
Our source said Moyo’s role was that of a consultant. The actual production of campaign material such as the printing of posters and T-shirts and other apparel, all representing quite lucrative contracts underwritten by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, was delegated to information deputy minister, Bright Matonga and permanent secretary, George Charamba. Matonga had contracted Imago Y&R, the marketing and public relations firm owned by Sharon Mugabe to handle the printing of the glossy Mugabe campaign posters.
The contracted a South African company to print the posters. Moyo then recruited TV personalities, Tich Matambanadzo and ZTV Bulawayo bureau chief Makhosini Hlongwane to handle television and radio campaigns.
"Ït is said that Matambanadzo negotiated the release from prison of his jailed brother, Tendai, as part of the deal," the source said. This could not be independently confirmed. Two sets of questions seeking Moyo’s clarification on his alleged role in masterminding Mugabe’s election campaign, were sent to the former minister on Wednesday and Thursday. He did not respond. Certain information that would link sources directly to this article and place them at risk has been withheld at their request.
Banker Tendai Matambanadzo of Metropolitan Bank was a co-accused along with Itai Marchi, a director in the Zanu-PF party, and Godfrey Dzvairo Zimbabwe’s then ambassador-designate to Mozambique, in a case of espionage that initially involved businessman Phillip Chiyangwa back in 2005. All three were accused of being part of a ring run by Chiyangwa, then a provincial party chairman. Charges against Chiyangwa himself were dropped after he fell ill while in remand prison.
Marchi and Tendai Matambanadzo were each sentenced to five years in prison while Dzvairo was sentenced to six. Their convictions stemmed from a scandal in which six Zanu-PF members were accused of being part of an espionage ring providing neighbouring South Africa with information on the party’s affairs.
Matambanadzo and Marchi were released on June 9, three weeks before the presidential run-off, after serving less than three years of their five-year term.
Jonathan Moyo caused a furor when addressed journalists at the Quill Club in Harare on Thursday, July 10. He dismissed Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai as lacking leadership qualities, while fiercely defending the legitimacy of President Robert Mugabe’s controversial re-election on June 27, a departure from his customary disparagement of Mugabe. Relations between Moyo and Tsvangirai had thawed in the run-up to March 11 when the MDC withdrew its parliamentary candidate from Tsholotsho constituency to clear the way for Moyo.
Comments submitted by readers in response to the Moyo article, as published on The Zimbabwe Times website on Friday, July 11, reached the highest number ever recorded on the website for any article. Mid-morning on that day the website collapsed. The Zimbabwe Times technicians detected external interference.
Unknown to his audience at the Quill Club that evening and to the public at large was the closely guarded secret that Moyo had engineered the campaign for Mugabe’s controversial re-election on June 27.
Readers of the respectable independent newspaper, The Zimbabwe Independent, had been surprised by a report in the previous issue of the newspaper to the effect that Moyo had been earmarked by Mugabe for the post of Minister of Information.
At the Quill Club meeting, Moyo said he did not rule out the prospect of rejoining Zanu-PF. He said it was his democratic right to choose which political party to associate with. He accused Tsvangirai of subordinating his party’s decision-making process to its "fund-raisers", MDC treasurer Roy Bennett and business tycoon, Strive Masiyiwa, the founder of Econet, Zimbabwe’s first and leading wireless telephone service provider. Both men now live in exile in South Africa. Moyo said Masiyiwa and Bennett had hijacked the MDC.
"I believe that the decision-making process in Tsvangirai’s MDC is now firmly in the hands of the party’s fundraisers, namely Strive Masiyiwa and Roy Bennett," he said. He suggested that President Mugabe was the ideal candidate to lead the proposed Government of National Unity (GNU) between Zanu-PF and MDC.
"There is an attempt to say that let’s use the 29th of March result of the presidential election in the discussions of a GNU. That cannot be the legal position.
Morgan Tsvangirai entered the run-off because no one won the presidency on the 29th of March." Moyo did not disclose that while he addressed the meeting as a political scientist and analyst he had, in fact, been contracted to ensure that Mugabe won the June 27 election. "The gun was held by people who are still in charge of this country," Moyo said ominously. "It makes logical sense that the gun is more important than a pen. It’s very important to note that we are operating in a country whose background is still dominated by people who liberated it."
Unless Moyo rendered free service to Zanu-PF in March and June, he was paid to ensure that those who liberated Zimbabwe retained power on June 27.
Professor Jonathan Moyo Zanu-PF MP for Tsholotsho North has vehemently denied allegations that he engineered Mugabe’s victory in the June 27 presidential runoff election. Moyo said that although the allegations were flattering, the allegations were false.
The people who were behind Mugabe’s media campaign deserve credit for a job well done, and the credit is not mine. I would have no qualms taking credit for it if I had engineered it as it is being said, but I do not deserve the credit, so I won’t take it, Moyo said.