TRADITIONAL leaders in Matabeleland North have leapt to the defence of under-fire Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who faces corruption charges, saying those pushing for his arrest are regionalists, and should “go hang”.
In a letter to President Robert Mugabe, traditional chiefs in Tsholotsho said they were not happy over the way Moyo was being treated.
They said it was shocking that those campaigning for his arrest had not shown the same zeal to push for the arrest of other ministers from other regions accused of corruption.
Moyo denies charges of looting nearly $500 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef), a department in his ministry, to — among other things — buy bicycles and motorbikes for community leaders in his Tsholotsho North constituency.
The minister has also suggested that the allegations against him were linked to the bitter factionalism in the ruling Zanu PF party which is at war over Mugabe’s succession.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) insists Moyo stole Zimdef money.
But Tsholotsho chiefs accused the commission and others of being selective in graft probes and ignoring alleged abuses by other government officials and ministers.
The traditional leaders questioned the motive behind the attack on a development they believe was for a genuine cause.
“There are some people who see us as useless people. no, we are not useless people, we are the leadership of Tsholotsho, so we want to set the record straight that we are not happy to see our child [Moyo] being persecuted. All we want is for government to bring development to our area,” the chiefs said in the letter following their meeting held on Tuesday at Tsholotsho business centre.
In attendance was Chief Magama, Chief Tategulu, Chief Gampu, Chief Siphoso, Headman Mahlaba, Headman Funda, and Headman Ngepe, headman Zwalala and Headman Mlevu.
“Here in Tsholotsho there is not even one student who is on this government initiative of Stem, so we the people of Tsholotsho, what is our crime, what exactly did we do to deserve this? We have been marginalised for long. Are we not in Zimbabwe also?” reads part of the letter.
The traditional leaders also said while all this was happening, it was clear that Tsholotsho was underdeveloped with the roads in a bad state and the stadium lying idle. “we need irrigation, our schools do not have laboratories and we don’t have electricity,” the chiefs added.
The traditional leaders who declared their allegiance to Zanu PF, Moyo and Mugabe argued it was clear some politicians within government were not happy with the positive development taking place in Tsholotsho.
“Why are some politicians not happy about development in Tsholotsho? During the by-election campaign, VP Phelekezela Mphoko and VP Emmerson Mnangagwa and other government officials came to Tsholotsho and made several promises which the government has not fulfilled till today but our MP has been trying and that’s his crime now,” their letter reads.
The traditional leaders thanked Mugabe for stopping Moyo’s arrest, arguing it was a justified move as he had not committed any crime.
They expressed their gratitude to Moyo for buying them bicycles, a development which they said had gone a long way in reducing transport challenges for the traditional leaders.
The chiefs said they were patiently waiting for their vehicles which government promised.
“We, however, thank Jonathan Moyo for representing us in Parliament as well as his effort to bring development in this area,” the chiefs wrote.
Moyo last week called those pushing for his arrest tribalists and regionalists. standard