Zimbabwe’s beleaguered Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, is facing yet another blow to his faltering career at a time when he is battling for his political life.
Having failed to secure election to the central committee of the ruling Zanu-PF last week, Moyo is now likely to be barred from taking part in the forthcoming primary elections, during which select candidates will be selected to represent the ruling party in next year’s general election.
Zanu-PF has dispatched to provinces new regulations, first mooted in October, that prohibit members with less than five years’ participation in party structures from standing during primaries.
Moyo was on Saturday booted off the central committee for convening the controversial Tsholotsho meeting on November 18, which President Robert Mugabe described as “illegal”, to discuss leadership changes.
Although Moyo had reportedly beaten Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema in the nominations count, Mugabe and the Zanu-PF executive committee brought in Mathema, and he is likely to be the Zanu-PF candidate for Tsholotsho.
Mathema said on Thursday he has “no comment” on the matter.
Official sources say Moyo will almost certainly be left out of the politburo when new appointments are now made. He could also be dropped from the Cabinet.
Moyo’s catalogue of problems, apart from what Mugabe called “clandestine activities”, now includes clashes with senior party officials; abusing taxpayers’ funds to organise music galas and promote the PaxAfro band; and chartering a plane for a private trip using public money.
He is also under pressure to account for an avalanche of “donations”, mostly in rural Tsholotsho. His attacks on Matabeleland North governor Obert Mpofu and his remarks that accusations about the Tsholotsho meeting were “ugly lies” and “pure fiction” have landed him in further trouble.
Zanu-PF’s deputy national commissar, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said on Thursday that his party has sent out the new benchmarks for the primaries.
“We adopted recommendations of the central committee, and the guidelines we have sent to the provinces. They stipulate that party members contesting primary elections should have been in the structures for five years or more,” Ndlovu said. “That politburo decision was accepted by everyone.”
Zanu-PF chairperson John Nkomo, who is part of the presidium, on Thursday said: “The regulations are part and parcel of our vetting processes and they apply as and when the situation arises.”
Moyo, who has declared his interest in standing in Tsholotsho, only joined Zanu-PF in 2000 after the rejection of a government-sponsored draft Constitution. Before that, he was a fierce critic of Mugabe and his government.
In 1999, Moyo accused Mugabe of having a tendency of “shooting himself in the foot” and as a result had actually become a “national problem”. Moyo attended the 1999 Zanu-PF congress as an “observer” and slammed the ruling party afterwards for discussing irrelevant issues.
But a few months later, he became Zanu-PF “campaign manager” ahead of the 2000 parliamentary election after a stint as spokesperson for the Constitutional Commission. — Zimbabwe Independent