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Moyo losing Tsholotsho

Dumisani Muleya/Loughty Dube

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 under new rules from contesting the forthcoming primary elections to select candidates to represent the ruling party in the March general election.

Zanu PF has dispatched to provinces new regulations, first mooted in October, which 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 presidium vetted out his name. Mathema was brought in and he is likely to be the Zanu PF candidate for Tsholotsho. Mathema said yesterday he had “no comment” on the matter.

Official sources say Moyo will almost certainly be left out of the politburo when new appointments are made anytime now. He could also be dropped from cabinet.

Moyo’s catalogue of problems, apart from what Mugabe called “clandestine activities”, now include clashes with senior party officials, abusing taxpayers’ funds to organise music galas and promote the PaxAfro band, chartering a plane for a private trip using public money, and allegedly grabbing Net*One lines to distribute in his rural home.

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 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 yesterday his party had 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 chairman John Nkomo, who is part of the presidium, yesterday 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 spokesman for the Constitutional Commission.

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