Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who is already reeling from a cocktail of hotly-contested corruption charges that have been filed against him over the past few weeks, is facing a fresh onslaught from his enemies within President Robert Mugabe’s warring Zanu PF.
Well-placed sources told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that development projects running into millions of dollars in the embattled Zanu PF politburo member’s impoverished Tsholotsho North constituency had allegedly been stopped by his party foes.
This comes as anti-graft body, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) — which Moyo says is being used by his Zanu PF enemies to hound him — is reported to be widening its probes into him to include cases which happened 17 years ago.
The impeccable sources who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday, who include former Tsholotsho senator Believe Gaule, said at least four projects, including an irrigation scheme, the resurfacing of local roads and the construction of a local stadium, had been “halted” in the last few weeks — amid claims that this was all a result of Zanu PF’s escalating factional and succession wars.
Moyo and other bigwigs such as Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere stand accused by their ruling party foes of being kingpins of a Zanu PF faction going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), which is rabidly opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.
What has particularly frustrated local people, as the Zanu PF fights burn hotter, is that even the construction of a $600 000 120km road from Tsholotsho to Phelandaba Business Centre which was officially launched by Transport minister Joram Gumbo in April this year, has also been halted.
Apparently, the contractor had abandoned the project after resurfacing 46 kilometres, gravelling 18 kilometres and compacting seven more kilometres of the road, due to non-payment of his fees.
The resurfacing of the Tsholotsho Business Centre road which had also been shelved after the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) had pulled the plug on the project in disputed circumstances.
A Daily News On Sunday team which visited the area witnessed equipment intended for the various projects lying abandoned at Tsholotsho Rural District Council’s offices and at high risk of being vandalised.
Gaule said there was enough evidence to show that Zanu PF politics was at play in all this.
“When Transport minister Gumbo came here, he promised that everything (construction of the Tsholotsho to Phelandaba Business Centre road) will be done.
“And true to his word construction started and everything was going on very well until recently where the construction company removed its vehicles from the site due to non-payment from the relevant authorities.
“But my query is what’s really happening. Ever since Moyo took over he has been working very hard, introducing a number of projects. But it seems his opponents are doing their best to bring him down. It’s clear there is a war to destroy him, but in the end the war only destroys innocent people,” Gaule said.
Chief Siphoso also blamed Zanu PF’s deadly infighting for stalling the projects.
“Honestly, how can you have all such powerful community projects stopping at one time? Yes, we know it’s politics, but it should not affect development because as it is we the ordinary people of Tsholotsho are now the ones suffering.
“Right now the rainy season is almost here and obviously the road will not be accessible since the constructors left before completing the job,” he said.
Tsholotsho Rural District Council finance director, Patrick Ngwenya, also blamed Zanu PF’s “intractable factionalism” for the area’s development woes.
“It’s clear that Zanu PF is now putting politics ahead of the people’s welfare. Yes, they may not like Jonathan Moyo in politics, but what about the welfare of the people?
“You can’t stop irrigations, a crucial road that takes people to the major hospital, road surfacing and other things. We as members of the community don’t want to suffer because our leaders are fighting,” Ngwenya said.
Early this month, Zacc swooped on Moyo and his deputy at the ministry of Higher Education, Godfrey Gandawa — accusing them of being involved in multiple serious fraud, money laundering and criminal abuse of office activities involving Zimdef funds.
The ensuing storm has not only exposed Zanu PF’s nasty tribal, factional and succession fissures, but also the ruling party’s gross abuse of State resources to advance its interests and those of its senior officials.
But Moyo has accused Team Lacoste (the Mnangagwa faction in Zanu PF) of working with key players at Zacc to wage a factionally-driven war against him, claims which Zacc denies.
Meanwhile, and separately, Zacc is also said to be investigating Moyo over $5 million which was released for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) promotion which the anti-graft body suspects could have also been improperly handled.
Under the new probes, Moyo is being investigated over funds that were paid to Lintas advertising agency by the CC when he was its spokesperson between 1999 and 2000.
The defunct commission was set up by Mugabe to lead the government-driven constitution-making exercise in 2000, in which Zanu PF’s preferred “Vote” campaign was roundly rejected by ordinary Zimbabweans in the ensuing referendum.
Apart from the CC, State media has confirmed that Zacc had extended its investigations to the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (Impi), a fact-finding process which was set up by Moyo in December 2013 to investigate the state of the country’s media and information sector.
The anti-graft body apparently wants to know details of how the money released to Impi was used, including allowances and salaries set aside for the secretariat.
In the meantime, Moyo’s close ally Kasukuwere had also recently come under the cosh from the duo’s own constituency, as Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars continue to rip the former liberation movement apart.
Kasukuwere, also Zanu PF’s national political commissar, landed in trouble after Parliament recommended last week that he be arrested over alleged criminal abuse of office during his tenure at the Indigenisation ministry, where he stands accused of misrepresenting facts on $10 million meant for communities in the rich diamond mining area of Marange. daily news