Impeccable sources inside the former ruling party told the Daily News last night that this “unpopular plot” had left the faction linked to vice president Joice Mujuru fuming — as this would see embattled incumbent party political commissar Webster Shamu being removed from the post.
The sources further alleged that President Robert Mugabe was also being put under tremendous pressure to ditch Webster Shamu from the influential Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity Bid to remove Shamu as Zanu PF implodes and replace him with notorious media hangman Moyo.
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, said he was not aware of the plot by the military and the Mnangagwa camp to topple Shamu from both the ministry and the party.
“I don’t know what you are talking about. Our politburo members are chosen at the congress and Jonathan Moyo is our party member and a politburo member too. It is not true. It is political speculation by certain individuals,” he said.
Opponents of the push by the hardliners to elevate the controversial former junior minister said they were surprised by the move as Moyo not only had an “erratic history” with the party, but had claimed “rather sensationally and painfully” in 2008 that Mugabe was so unpopular that he could even lose to a donkey in an election.
Moyo was information minister before he was sacked in 2005, with Mugabe claiming that he had plotted a coup against him.
Moyo was also the brains behind the repressive and much-disliked Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) which was used to shut down the popular Daily News in September 2003. In 2001, the mass circulating paper had its printing Press bombed hours after Moyo threatened to silence the newspaper.
“Shamu’s critics in the party are comparing this very civil party stalwart’s tactics to the tactics of the bloody Zanu PF campaign employed during the era of the late two political commissars, Border Gezi and Elliot Manyika. It doesn’t help that when Moyo was the information minister, the party’s communication campaigns were brutal and intimidatory,” the source said.
“The situation is being worsened by the fact that the military also believe that their work of coercing the public can be better and easily enforced with the political commissariat department being headed by the more hawkish Moyo who is both combative and ruthless in his dealings with the media.
“Then you have the other dynamic where the Mnangagwa camp is desperate to have Shamu kicked out and replaced with their own man. While I am on this, please don’t listen to the patently untrue propaganda that Mnangagwa is not interested in the presidency.
“He desperately wants power and is only saying this to mask his ambition and to make sure that he remains in good books with Mugabe after the Tsholotsho debacle,” said the top Zanu PF official.
Shamu’s term as the party’s political commissar is supposed to last for the next five years. His sympathisers say he has “a job and a half” as he battles to re-organise the former ruling party which is incapacitated by factionalism and has lost popular appeal throughout the country.
Another source said most people inside the party that he had shared the proposed move with were against it as they felt that Moyo was not a genuine Zanu PF cadre given his “legendary political flip flopping”.
“It would be folly to give Moyo that position because we really don’t know and don’t understand his mission in Zanu PF. Has the party forgotten that it was only in 2004 that he (Moyo) tried and failed to topple President Mugabe, together with members of his faction. He has also been one of President Mugabe’s fiercest critics.
“When he was fired from Zanu PF he tried to join the MDC and demanded a very senior post but they refused and now he is back again in Zanu PF and causing commotion and divisions. During the time he was absent from the party, he was abusing the President in the Press, the same way he is doing it against President Zuma.
“Within the region, he has caused problems for President Mugabe and Zanu PF by making reckless statements such as insinuating that President Zuma is being used by the West to remove President Mugabe. If the president and the party decide to push him through it will be a disaster because so far all he has achieved is to further isolate and destroy Zanu PF,” the riled party official said.
Moyo recently travelled to South Africa for the Sadc summit on Zimbabwe, heading a propaganda team that dismally failed to sway the region’s thinking in favour of Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Moyo spent that time appearing on television and radio while the MDC’s representatives were meeting Sadc ministers and diplomats who really matter in regional politics.
But our sources also said that Shamu — a veteran and more amenable politician — would not be pushed out easily as he allegedly enjoyed support from both Mugabe and many other senior Zanu PF members, especially the faction linked to the Mujurus.
The Daily News reported last month that Moyo’s latest return to Zanu PF had divided the party’s presidium as both Mujuru and co-vice president John Nkomo fiercely opposed his appointment to the party’s politburo. – Daily News