ZANU-PF Political Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere has warned that further exposés about underfire Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo are ill-conceived and damaging the ruling party.
Professor Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa are accused of swindling the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) of close to $500 000 to fund party and personal programmes.
Prof Moyo has admitted to using his discretion to divert Zimdef funds meant to benefit students and colleges towards party programmes and to buy bicycles for traditional leaders in his Tsholotsho constituency in Matabeleland North.
Addressing journalists in Harare last week at a press conference to mark International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, Cde Kasukuwere – a close ally of Prof Moyo – said further exposure of Prof Moyo could damage Zanu-PF, which he said was already dealing with the matter internally. Prof Moyo has likened his actions to those of Robin Hood.
Robin Hood is a legendary outlaw in British folklore who stole from the rich to give to the poor.
Said Cde Kasukuwere last week: “If one has to chase a rat and ends up burning a house we then start wondering what the objective is?
“Issues to do with the party must be handled with the utmost discipline, respect that is expected of all of us and I think our leader the President has given us direction.
“He set up a committee to look into various matters, to look into the operations of some of these institutions that are mentioned, in particular the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission. We expect that team to do its work.”
He said there appeared to be an agenda against Prof Moyo. “What concerns us is that it appears there is a bigger agenda than dealing with the issue (of corruption). What we’re not going to accept is anything that ultimately damages the party. The party is a sacred institution with all of us in it.”
Prof Moyo tweeted recently that those accusing him of fraud were pushing a factional agenda in the party and that they were tribalists trying to keep Matabeleland marginalised.
Cde Kasukuwere, who is also Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, said the fraud allegations against Prof Moyo were damaging Zanu-PF. He accused Zacc of working against the party.
“We as the party are seized with the matter. We want it to be handled in that manner,” he said. Professor Moyo and Gandawa are accused of abusing almost $400 000 of Zimdef money to fund programmes of their choice without authority.
Zacc is treating this as an act of fraud and has instituted an investigation of the two. Both Moyo and Gandawa deny any wrongdoing.
Zacc investigations committee chair Commissioner Goodson Nguni last week told a media briefing in Harare that there was nothing personal against Prof Moyo.
Cde Kasukuwere was also quoted telling a rally in Norton on Thursday last week that Prof Moyo acted in the interest of the party, the President and the nation. He said those investigating him for corruption were sellouts.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Wednesday said no one was above the law or immune to prosecution for criminal conduct.
He said everyone, including Cabinet ministers and Vice Presidents, could be prosecuted if there were reasonable grounds to suspect they had committed a crime.
He said in terms of the Constitution, only the President was immune to criminal prosecution and that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission was a State arm mandated with investigating and dealing with cases of corruption.
VP Mnangagwa said this in the National Assembly while responding to questions from Members of Parliament who quizzed him on why then Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko was defending Prof Moyo, and wanted to know whether Cabinet ministers were immune from prosecution. herald