Monday, 10 October 2016

ZANU PF IN TATTERS

The probe by authorities into alleged corruption by Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo  has heightened fears within President Robert Mugabe’s brawling Zanu PF that the ruling party is on the verge of imploding, with its aged leadership trapped in a colonial time warp and unable to heal the former liberation movement’s gaping political wounds.

A Zanu PF politburo member who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday said starkly that the party was “in tatters” and that its mindless tribal, factional and succession bloodletting had now turned into “a zero-sum game” as its bitterly opposed combatants savaged each other to the death.

“Honestly speaking, I cannot see where we can go from here as a party. This could be it for the party as we know it. Everyone can see that the nightmare season of long knives is getting bloodier by the day and no one appears to have the appetite and capacity to stop this horror show.

“Zanu PF is in tatters and the (factional and succession) fights have become a fatal zero-sum game, a deadly fight in a tunnel where the only outcome possible is death for all. Who will be next?” the anguished bigwig asked ruefully, echoing the sentiments of many in the troubled party.

At the same time, ruling party sources opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that his camp, which they claimed was “close” to grabbing power in both Zanu PF and the government, had allegedly engineered last week’s attempt to get Moyo arrested at the party’s headquarters in Harare on allegations of corruption and criminal abuse of office.

The Higher Education minister, who is seen as one of the kingpins of the Mnangagwa camp’s rivals, the Generation 40 (G40) group, which is rabidly opposed to the VP, was attending a Zanu PF politburo meeting on Wednesday when a dozen investigators from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and the police tried to arrest him.

The sources who spoke to the newspaper said five other Zacc officers had also been sent to the minister’s office, while a similar number were deployed to his home on the day.

“It was all pretty dramatic. Before this, Moyo had made an official complaint to Mugabe about Zacc on September 29, accusing one of its commissioners Goodson Nguni in particular of pursuing a factional agenda on behalf of Team Lacoste (Mnangagwa faction).

“A day after Moyo had filed his complaint with Mugabe, Zacc investigators visited the minister’s office but were told he was away on official business. They left a message that he should present himself at their offices on Tuesday, October 4, a day that ... Mugabe was scheduled to be away in Lesotho,” one of the sources said, alluding to a conspiracy.

Mnangagwa himself had on Monday, October 3 allegedly met Zacc chairman Job Whabira and commissioners Nanette Silukhuni and Denford Chirindo, as well as Nelson Mutsonziwa from the National Prosecuting Authority, where it is claimed that he told them that Mugabe had authorised Moyo’s immediate arrest.

The Daily News on Sunday was further told that Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who was acting president, went to the extent of sheltering the under siege minister at his house on Tuesday, October 4, while awaiting Mugabe’s return from Lesotho later that day.

Mphoko also allegedly briefed Mugabe about the matter at the airport when the nonagenarian arrived back from Maseru, with the Zanu PF leader ruling that the matter would be discussed at the politburo meeting the next day.

Moyo, the sources said, waited until towards the end of that meeting to introduce the subject, leading to a stormy discussion in which he allegedly warned that arresting a sitting Cabinet minister for supporting party programmes would have “far-reaching and serious implications” for Zanu PF.

He had also complained that Zacc was being used to attack him in the interest of a factional agenda given that the funds that he was accused of siphoning had been used to fund party programmes such as the so-called million man march, as well as computers that had been given away by powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe.

“Jonathan pointed out that government ministries and departments had for many years positively responded to requests for assistance, without accusations of corruption being thrown about.
“The meeting got very heated with an emotional Moyo at some point raising his concerns about tribalism with regards to the issue of $24 000 which had been released by Zimdef as funeral assistance following the death of his daughter Zanele last year.

“They (Zimdef) wanted him (Moyo) to sign papers saying the funeral assistance was in fact a loan. He refused and repaid it in full. He had also never asked for it in the first place,” one of the sources said.

It was also learnt that Zimdef had previously paid the funeral expenses for former Higher Education minister Olivia Muchena, following the death of her ex-husband -- a point that Moyo is said to have rammed home in the meeting.

Another source said Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Zanu PF youth league secretary Kudzai Chipanga had also sprung to Moyo’s defence in the heated politburo meeting, telling Mugabe that the million man march would not have happened without support from Zimdef.
Mphoko is also said to have called for the disbandment of Zacc, further arguing that Nguni was not fit to be one of its commissioners as he had allegedly been convicted of fraud in South Africa prior to his appointment to the statutory body.

Mnangagwa himself, the sources said, thanked Moyo for his address in the politburo meeting, while ignoring the pointed comments that insinuated that the VP was behind the Zacc investigations which were allegedly tribal in nature.

“... Mugabe said the developments were embarrassing the party, before directing the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda to lead a committee that would review the activities of Zacc and recommend any subsequent action.

“Other members of the committee are (Defence minister Sydney) Sekeramayi, (State Security minister Kembo) Mohadi and (State Enterprises minister Sithembiso) Nyoni. The president also ordered Mohadi and (Home Affairs minister Ignatius) Chombo to go and tell Zacc officers that they had no legal authority to arrest or charge Moyo,” the second source said.

However, the Daily News on Sunday understands that barely 24 hours later, fresh attempts were made to arrest Moyo, allegedly prompting Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to call Zacc chairperson Whabira to ask his troops to pull back.

Whabira had allegedly told Chihuri that he was under “immense pressure from Mnangagwa” to act in a week that G40 kingpins were supposed to be sent to the cleaners.

“Team Lacoste was desperate for Moyo’s scalp. He’s viewed as the most vicious and daring of the G40 crew and they want to finish him off now. Security ministers have also been handed intercepted communication transcripts between senior Zanu PF politicians and Zacc officials showing this,” another source claimed.

Moyo refused to comment yesterday saying he was attending lectures at the University of Zimbabwe, where he is studying law. However, a G40-linked figure said they were digging in for a massive war against Team Lacoste, accusing the camp of tribalism and “successionist tendencies”

“Why single Jonathan out to the point of charging him with criminal abuse of office for funding Zanu PF? Why? There is nothing in the Zacc allegations that shows that he or any member of his family had personally benefitted from the Zimdef money,” the bigwig said.

Writing on social media yesterday, Moyo did not hold back saying, “When @HeraldZimbabwe uses lies to incite violence against Zanu PF ministers thru an MDC-T outfit, it’s new politics!”.

“It’s known which politicians are behind this unprecedented madness. Gukurahundi type of politics won’t work in 2016! ... The essence of Gukurahundi politics is a personalised & tribalised political programme based on calculated lies! ... When infidels tell such cruel lies to justify a corrupt power grab, follow the contradictions to get to the truth!” he added.

The previous day he had written, “You can say what you want but I would rather be a Robin Hood than a cruel tribalist, murderer & UN identified cross border diamond thief! ... While it’s ok for some to use ZINARA funds to build tarred roads to their village farms, it’s fraud for others to get bicycles for chiefs!”.

But a Lacoste-linked Zanu PF official retorted saying Moyo and other alleged G40 kingpins were hiding behind tribalism and factionalism to “escape justice”.

“Jonathan Moyo is trying to be clever by turning his nefarious activities into a tribal issue. This is very dangerous for the party and the country. He and his ilk must just concede that they have been found on the wrong side of the law.

“The fact is that money was embezzled and an explanation is needed. Where is the tribalism here,” he asked. daily news

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