Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo has seemingly defied President Robert Mugabe’s advice not to sue Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and a host of other State actors and public media journalists for alleged defamation.
Moyo wants to take Mnangagwa and 14 others to court over what he claims were defamatory articles relating to the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) scandal, in which he is accused of abusing more than $400 000.
Reports said Mugabe, during this week’s politburo meeting, had impressed upon Moyo not to sue Mnangagwa, but the Higher Education minister yesterday announced that his lawyers were finalising the court papers.
“I’m happy to say my lawyers have just advised that the mega lawsuit on capture of State institutions and defamation is about to be filed,” he tweeted yesterday.
“The Constitution’s section 61(5)(c) says: Freedom of expression and freedom of the media exclude malicious injury to a person’s reputation or dignity.”
In a clear jibe at Mnangagwa, Moyo, reportedly a leading figure in the G40 faction of Zanu PF fighting to stop Mnangagwa from succeeding Mugabe, laughed off media reports of what happened in the politburo.
“A politburo insider feeding lies to the media? No, no. Maybe it’s someone inside a dirty river somewhere that’s infested with crocodiles,” he tweeted again.
Mnangagwa’s nickname is Ngwena, Shona for crocodile.
With Mugabe having consistently urged party members to stop washing “dirty linen” in public, especially through social media, Moyo has been unrelenting.
Moyo last week issued a stinging statement accusing Mnangagwa of capturing and abusing State institutions including the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) to “further a factional agenda”.
The Cabinet minister had already been subpoenaed by Zacc on charges of fraud and abuse of office before he approached the Constitutional Court for respite.
Moyo also intends to sue Information minister Christopher Mushohwe, Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba and a host of State media journalists. newsday