Is Gorden Moyo the next Joshua Nkomo?

OPINION – That Gorden Moyo is an emerging leader of the people of Matabeleland is no longer debatable as he has steadily gained stature against other political opponents from the region like Welshman Ncube, Dumiso Dabengwa, and Jonathan Moyo in the bid to fill the void left by Joshua Nkomo.

Just last weekend, Gorden Moyo affectionately known as “Malume” by his supporters in all suburbs of Bulawayo rose to take over the Chairmanship of Bulawayo Metropolitan Province in the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai. 

In doing so, Gorden “Malume” Moyo surprised Matson Hlalo who assumed he had the people of Bulawayo in his bag. Matson Hlalo, who claims to have been born in Bulawayo, has his roots in Gutu, Masvingo and is the uncle of Tafadzwa Musekiwa, the MDC Member of Parliament who fled political violence to the U.K in early 2000.

Hlalo was formerly a ZANU PF councilor before becoming an Independent and then joining the MDC-T in time to fill the gap of Senator in Mzilikazi. His credentials therefore became questionable to the people of Bulawayo when the time came to choose the Provincial Chairperson. It is ironic that Hlalo is the Senator for the same constituency he is arguing should not participate in the provincial congress.

Anyone who has followed this election will understand that this was no stroll in the park. Nonetheless, Moyo prevailed as a result of a well coordinated and highly disciplined campaign predicated on the wave of change.

But who is Gorden Moyo? Gorden Moyo is currently, the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, a ministry that has gained prominence since his arrival in July 2010. He has become known for campaigning for the commercialization and privatization of these loss making entities.  

Recently, he presented and convinced Cabinet on the need to come up with a State Enterprises Bill and the State Enterprises Restructuring Agency Bill.  Moyo was previously Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office having been appointed by President Tsvangirai from the civil society after the formation of the inclusive government in recognition of his organizational and academic skills. Moyo was educated at the University of Zimbabwe and was a high school teacher in Bulawayo.

Gorden Moyo was one of the founder members of the Bulawayo Agenda which is a critical player in community civic society in Matabeleland. He cut his political teeth in civic society and rose to become a recognized national civic society leader at the turn of the century.

The election of Gorden Moyo as Chairperson of Bulawayo Metro Province has serious implications for politics in Matabeleland. Moyo is the only Provincial Chairperson in the MDC-T who is in Cabinet and there is no doubt this will play into the politics of MDC-N whose pseudo base is in Matabeleland.

The rise of Gorden Moyo will most certainly be a pain in the “wrong side” to Welshman Ncube, whose presidential campaign poster litters almost every tree and pole in the City centre of Bulawayo. One can reasonably, therefore not rule out the hand of MDC –N in the skirmishes that have characterized the MDC-T provincial congress in the last weekend.

In fact there are unconfirmed reports of underhand dealings by the Hlalo camp with just about every political party to block the ascendance of Gorden Moyo. But the people have spoken and they have chosen Gorden Moyo as their Chairperson and leader.

MDC-N has been posturing and masquerading as a party based and rooted in Matabeleland as a means to exploit and play the tribal card against the Tsvangirai Camp which is accused of filling its ranks with “riff-ruffs” without capacity. Tribal politics are best played and abused by African political vampire elites.

That cannot be said about Gorden an academic and community activist who is set to take the party to greater heights in terms of membership mobilization, enhancing citizen participation and integrity of the party. MDC-T will certainly make new inroads into previously shadowed political enclaves, give space to voices previously unheard and deal with seemingly esoteric issues.

The election of Gorden Moyo will thus generate positive implications for Morgan Tsvangirai’s presidential campaign. The ZAPU factor which has been a cause for concern in the last year as Dumiso`s Dabengwa party was gearing through his apple polishers in ZANU PF to create political headaches for Tsvangirai.

It will be interesting to see how Moyo will navigate this dynamic but there is no denying politics in Matabeleland will be very interesting. This explains why Robert Mugabe allegedly lambasted Gorden Moyo on ZTV last Tuesday night in a shameless statement saying that he had orchestrated a campaign of violence.

The stake and interests of the people of Matabeleland will increase in the MDC –T as strong leaders emerge in the party. But Moyo must understand that he no-longer enjoys any monopoly and hence it will not be enough to assume that as Minister in Government the people of Matabeleland will follow blindly. There are strong contenders in the form of ZAPU, MDC-T and ZANU PF and hence there are compelling reasons for effective and performing leaders

But one expects that Gorden Moyo will bury the hatchet and close ranks with his political rivals within the party and reduce the surface area for conflict. Without this he will be kept on his toes for the entire term of office.

Moyo is expected to unite the province and begin the crucial role of preparing for the next elections which ZANU-PF so desperately wants, despite SADC’s insistence that Zimbabwe is not yet ready for elections in 2011.

There are other serious questions that Gorden Moyo will be expected to answer as Chairperson of the province. The issue of deindustrialization of Bulawayo and the water shortages affecting Bulawayo and Matabeleland in general should be at the top of the agenda for the Gorden Moyo led provincial committee.

Mfundo Mlilo is a political activist based in Harare