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Moyo reveals ‘imminent constitutional change’

Loughty Dube/Pindai Dube

THE case in which former Zimbabwe government minister, Jonathan Moyo, is suing two senior Zanu PF officials opened at the Bulawayo High Court this week with the former minister making startling revelations that Zanu PF was removing from its consti

tution the requirement that one of the two vice-presidents should be a woman.

Moyo, who was under cross examination from Francis Chirumuuta, the defence lawyer, made the revelations when disputing arguments that the amendments made by the politburo were constitutional.

Chirumuuta had put it to him that the constitutional amendment that set up the post for a woman candidate was in line with a resolution of a 1999 National People’s conference.

“As we speak right now Zanu PF is in the process of removing the requirement that the second vice-president should be a woman,” said Moyo. “My argument was that the politburo had no powers to amend the party constitution in the manner that it did and, besides, the politburo is a secretariat of the central committee and does not have the powers to amend the constitution by itself.”

Moyo, who is suing Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo and politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa for damages amounting to $2 billion, said the central committee should have held an emergency meeting before the constitution was amended ahead of November 21 2004, the date set for the nomination of candidates.

Turning to the defamation allegations, Moyo said he was not present when the allegations were made but says he heard about them from those that attended the meeting and from media reports published after the meeting.

“The articles published caused me great grief,” said Moyo. “I kept seeing consequences being visited against me and this caused a lot of grief because the articles were insinuating that there was something amiss that happened in Tsholotsho.”

Moyo spent the better part of the morning trying to outwit Chirumuuta on when the defamation allegations are said to have arisen.

Chirumuuta alleged that Moyo’s lawsuit arose from the statements made at a meeting at the Rainbow Hotel on November 18 2004 while Moyo insists that the defamatory statements were made in Tsholotsho on January 14 2005, at a meeting addressed by the two defendants.

In one instance Chirumuuta came under fire from Moyo after he alleged that the decision to declare the Tsholotsho meeting illegal was constitutional as proven by President Mugabe’s statements later.

“The president is not the constitution, one would expect the party to follow provisions of its constitution and what Mugabe said is not the party position,” Moyo said. “It’s his personal views and he said the words as a candidate because by then all the positions in the party were vacant including the presidency.”

The two camps will call cabinet ministers and governors who include Amos Midzi, Andrew Langa, Cain Mathema, Abednico Ncube, Patrick Chinamasa, Flora Bhuka, July Moyo and war veterans leader Jospeh Chinotimba to testify.

Moyo told the court that Nkomo and Dabengwa had told the Tsholotsho meeting that he (Moyo) was plotting a coup in two phases, with the first phase involving the elimination of Vice-President Msika and himself (Nkomo) and the next phase being the elimination of President Mugabe.

The case has been set down for a ruling in two weeks’ time before Justice Francis Bere.

The case continues at the Bulawayo High court today with Moyo’s lawyer, Job Sibanda, expected to make cross examinations before witnesses can testify.

Moyo also revealed during cross examination that President Mugabe had tried to persuade him not to stand as an independent candidate but to wait for a future appointment as a senator.

“President Mugabe called me to a meeting that was also attended by Vice-President Joice Mujuru to explain the issue of the party decision to settle for a woman candidate in Tsholotsho and the president asked me to desist from standing as an independent.

“He asked why I was determined to be a member of parliament and asked why I should not wait and bounce back as a senator,” Moyo told the court.

Moyo later told the court that after the alleged defamatory statements by Nkomo and Dabengwa on January 12 2005, it had become clear to him that the two were the ones giving President Mugabe bad information.

Moyo said the hostility displayed by Nkomo at a politburo session after the Tsholotsho meeting made him believe that the national chairman had something against him.

“Nkomo was shaking when I went in, he pointed at me and shouted who are you, where is your party card, what district are you from, what cell, you are a fifth columnists in the party, we have been infiltrated,” Moyo claimed.

Asked by Chirumuuta to quantify his losses as a result of the claimed defamation, Moyo said he was evicted from his house after the state said he was a security threat since he was staying in a villa next to the president.

Moyo said as a result of the statements, he lost his official Mercedes Benz vehicle, salary, benefits and his government post.

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