In a public rebuke of Moyo at the weekend, Gumbo told the Daily News’s sister paper the Daily News on Sunday that the political turncoat should wait for the former ruling party’s next congress if he wanted to speak on behalf of President Robert Mugabe’s troubled party.
“Moyo is free to talk but he does so in his personal capacity. He cannot speak for the party. I am the spokesperson of the party. If Moyo wants to be the spokesperson he should wait for the next congress,” a miffed Gumbo said when asked about Moyo’s numerous and controversial utterances – allegedly on behalf of Zanu PF.
But Mutasa was reading from a different script yesterday and even defended Moyo’s much-criticised call for the arrest of the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jameson Timba.
“All members can say what they want to defend the party apart from those given specific portfolios. The party’s constitution says that every party member should defend the party in every way.
“People have the wrong views about Zanu PF. They think we are a party of dictators but that is not true. We allow people to hold their own views. What Jonathan Moyo is doing is exercising his freedom of speech and we enjoy his expressions.
“If Moyo says something that is offensive to anyone that person is entitled to take action. If there are people who are offended, they should certainly take action. As a party we enjoy what he says. He is defending his party. We have multiple roles,” Mutasa said.
Moyo, who is infamously regarded as a media hangman within the journalistic fraternity, for the role he played in crafting the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which was used to shut down the popular Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday seven years ago, is said to be very angry with journalists who are criticising him.
His critics say the belligerent former junior information minister has taken advantage of the current weaknesses and confusion inside the imploding party to become the unofficial, but de facto party spokesperson and political commissar.
Top analysts were also quick to point out yesterday that Moyo was taking advantage of the divisions and the vacuum inside Zanu PF to advance his interests, after failing to topple Mugabe in the ill-fated ‘Tsholotsho Declaration’ in 2004.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said Moyo’s actions said a lot about the state of health of the party, which had been in power since the country attained independence in 1980.
“There is confusion in the party if you look at the fact that Gumbo says he (Moyo) is not the spokesperson (of the party) and Mutasa says he is free to speak on behalf of the party. They should clarify their position,” Mandaza said.
Human Rights researcher Pedzisai Ruhanya agreed with Mandaza adding that what Moyo was doing was far from what ordinary Zimbabweans expected from their leaders. He said Moyo’s latest antics manifested the rot within the former ruling party.
“When a political party system collapses there is no single person with authority. The sources of power are everywhere which is a reflection of the collapse and confusion within Zanu PF.
“Jonathan Moyo exhibits apartheid and Rhodesian tactics in his utterances. Of course, the results of this style of leadership will be very clear when people go for elections,” Ruhanya said.
He also warned Zanu PF against giving Moyo more room to manoeuvre in the party, particularly as his motives were still questionable among some party members who felt that he was out to destroy the party from within.
“If you sow rotten seeds, you reap rotten fruits. Look at what he (Moyo) is doing. He is now everything. Why is he behaving like the President, CIO head and police commissioner?
“Zanu PF will reap the fruits of Moyo’s Nazi-like behaviour. I don’t think Zimbabweans celebrate repression. Zanu PF will see the consequences,” Ruhanya said.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said what Moyo was doing was not out of character. He also said Moyo was trying to fill a vacuum within the party.
“There is a huge vacuum in the party which he is trying to fill single-handedly. The centre can’t really hold if he exits. This should not be a matter for celebration by the party because it essentially proves that the party is dysfunctional.
“It is no longer operating as an institution and depends entirely on one person to resuscitate the party. They must be worried because where the party is going at this rate remains unclear.
“Why should Zanu PF depend on one person? Defence of the party is a collective duty. Zanu PF is utterly vulnerable because it is dependent on the skills of one person and that is tragic,” Masunungure said.
It has been reported that Moyo is increasingly irritating fellow party members with his outbursts.
Insiders also say that some top party members such as vice-president Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo were very unhappy with his controversial utterances as they felt that these were harming Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s image.
They also doubt his credibility and appear to believe that he is in it for personal gain, given his vicious and scathing criticism of Mugabe in the recent past.
At one time, Moyo told journalists at the National Press Club in Harare that Mugabe was so unpopular and unmarketable that even if he were pitted against a donkey, the octogenarian leader would lose badly. – Daily News