The battle between the two Zanu PF stalwarts comes amid fierce infighting over succession within the party.
The fight for control and dominance has now shifted to Matabeleland where turf battles are raging all over the region. The situation deteriorated after Moyo and Mpofu, the party’s national secretary for economic affairs, last week exchanged harsh words during the politburo meeting in a battle for control of the Matabeleland region and position themselves to succeed ailing Vice-President John Nkomo. The Moyo and Mpofu clashes fall within the Mugabe succession matrix.
Politburo insiders said the war of words started when Moyo took a swipe at Mpofu, accusing him of causing problems.
Moyo, the sources said, accused Mpofu of trying to impose candidates ahead of elections. A fuming Moyo chastised Mpofu for “randomly” changing the provincial leadership without consultation.
Mpofu, who is building a fortune and political empire in the region, was also accused of spearheading the sacking of former Matabeleland North chairman Zenzo Ncube before he appointed his close associate Zwelitsha Masuku as acting chair. But Moyo then fired Masuku and replaced him with Headman Moyo, who was also booted out for associating with Mpofu. He was replaced by Governor Sithokozile Mathuthu, Mpofu’s longtime rival. Bulawayo chairperson Isaac Dakamela, a close ally of Mpofu, was sacked recently.
Moyo’s accusation did not go down well with Mpofu, who hit back at Moyo saying he had failed to win elections. Moyo is not elected. Apart from Mpofu, Kembo Mohadi, Sithembiso Nyoni and Jonathan Moyo are also Zanu PF MPs in the region where the party risks being wiped out.
Sources said Mpofu accused Moyo of influencing state media to tarnish his image while the chairman accused the minister of doing the same. Politburo members were said to have been stunned by the confrontation.
Mugabe had to intervene in the fracas and ordered the two politicians to close ranks ahead of make-or-break elections.