HomePoliticsMoyo botches 'Battle for Tsholotsho'

Moyo botches ‘Battle for Tsholotsho’

Dumisani Muleya/Gift Phiri

EMBATTLED Information minister Jonathan Moyo faces further humiliation today when President Robert Mugabe announces a new Zanu PF politburo during a central co

mmittee meeting.

Moyo was recently booted out of the central committee after he convened a controversial meeting in Tsholotsho, reportedly aimed at staging a palace coup against the Zanu PF old guard.

Mugabe attacked Moyo over the issue before he kicked him out of the 242-member central committee. This automatically ensured Moyo would be left out of the politburo.

Moyo is struggling to ride out a series of problems that he has created for himself. He is also trying to win Tsholotsho in next year’s general election.

But Moyo’s attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people of Tsholotsho suffered another blow this week when his plans to rope in the country’s most popular soccer clubs — Caps United and Highlanders — to play in his $50 million challenge match hung in the balance.

The match was organised by the Tsholotsho Sports Association, Moyo’s brainchild.

Newly crowned Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions Caps United initially said they would send a second-string side to play former champions Highlanders in the “Battle of Tsholotsho” at Tsholotsho business centre but later changed their mind.

Although it was not possible to get an official comment from Highlanders, a senior official at the Bulawayo giants said their team would not be used as a “political condom”.

Caps play in the Zifa Unity Cup match on Sunday while Highlanders are set to engage South Africa’s Black Leopards and Dynamos to raise money to meet their financial obligations.

Winners in Moyo’s match were set to walk away with $35 million, while losers would get $15 million. It was not clear where Moyo got the sponsorship money. There have been a lot of queries about his avalanche of donations in Tsholotsho. Ministers earn $16,5 million per year. They also get a cabinet allowance of $29 030, a general allowance of $18 670 and a housing allowance of $125 000.

Moyo is not a known businessman and this has fuelled speculation about the source of his donations and money to finance soccer matches, beauty pageants and his shadowy music band, PaxAfro.

PSL secretary-general Chris Sambo said yesterday the soccer body was not involved in Moyo’s match.

“The PSL is not involved in the organisation of that game,” he said. “We know nothing about the Tsholotsho match. We have not been contacted by the organisers.”

Confusion seemed to engulf the Moyo match yesterday as officials sounded uncertain about the game. Caps United chairman Andy Hodges initially said the team would send a weakened side.

“We will send a team but it won’t be a full strength squad,” Hodges said. But later he said: “Without PSL approval we cannot play.”

Moyo’s Tsholotsho Sports Association yesterday faxed a letter dated November 30 seeking approval for the match but PSL was in a dilemma over the issue. The letter said Tsholotsho would be “blessed and thrilled” by the match, which was due to be played on a dusty football pitch in rural Tsholotsho.

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