Moyo’s politburo return riles Zanu PF bigwigs

Brian Chitemba

SENIOR Zanu PF members are sharply divided over the re-admission of Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo into the party’s politburo with stalwarts from Matabeleland opposed to the political scientist’s return to the top.

Politburo members told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that senior officials from Matabeleland were not happy with Moyo’s return to the party’s key decision-making body, the most important organ outside congress.

 

The Zanu PF Matabeleland bigwigs, sources said, view Moyo’s rise as a threat to their dominance.

Sources said President Robert Mugabe was the only one who wanted Moyo back in the politburo despite spirited bids by former PF-Zapu gurus, including Vice President John Nkomo, who are strongly opposed to the former Information and Publicity minister’s comeback.

Others chagrined by Moyo’s re-admission into the politburo include Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction, while the former University of Zimbabwe lecturer enjoys the support of  Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu, among others.
“We didn’t want him to bounce back in the politburo because he cannot be trusted,” said a top Zanu PF politburo member.

“However, Mugabe’s voice prevailed, the president believes he is capable of turning around the fortunes of the party.”

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo on Wednesday said he could not rule out disgruntlement among politburo members because the appointment of such senior members were made by Mugabe, 86, in consultation with other presidium members.

“Obviously when there are such high profile appointments, there is bound to be complaints although I haven’t received any,” he said. “But once the president announces the appointment of a politburo member, there is virtually nothing we can do; we just accept it.”

Mugabe dropped Moyo from the politburo and central committee at the 2004 congress following the legislator’s decision to stand as an independent candidate in the 2005 parliamentary poll. Moyo was accused of orchestrating a Tsholotsho meeting dubbed the ‘Tsholotsho declaration” in 2004 that aimed at changing Zanu PF’s leadership structure.

At Zanu PF’s 2010 conference in Mutare, Mugabe personally announced Moyo’s politburo comeback.

“He is back as he was working in the party, he has talent and I am sure we will be satisfied with his work,” Mugabe told delegates at the December conference.

But other politburo members insisted that the return of Moyo had caused divisions at the party’s echelons of power. Sources said Moyo was also likely to be appointed as Media, Information and Publicity minister, taking over from incumbent Webster Shamu. Zanu PF officials said Shamu would concentrate on party business as Moyo takes charge of the ministry that controls the media.

“This is part of Mugabe’s wider plan of winning possible mid-year elections,” said the source. “The president is optimistic Moyo will do wonders to help him win the hearts of Zimbabweans who seem to be fed up with Zanu PF.”

Moyo is now linked to the post of Zanu PF deputy commissar which is vacant following the death of Ephraim Masawi last year.

A former Zanu PF deputy secretary for information and publicity, Moyo was re-admitted into the party in 2009.

Moyo declined to comment on those opposed to his re-admission to the politburo.

“I cannot comment at the moment on that issue,” he said.