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Fireworks erupt in politburo

FRESH cracks have emerged in Zanu PF over the use of state media to sow divisions, the poorly articulated indigenisation programme blamed for scaring away investors, and jockeying for positions ahead of the party’s much-anticipated congress in December.

Faith Zaba/ Elias Mambo

The recent starkly contrasting policy positions on indigenisation between the minister of indigenisation Francis Nhema, and that of Information Jonathan Moyo, which played out in the media, highlight the problem.

The clashes resulted in fireworks at the Zanu PF politburo meeting on Wednesday where the indigenisation policy was clarified and a livid President Robert Mugabe and members of Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction railed against Moyo for abusing the state media, which they said was causing divisions within the party.

There is a growing feeling in Zanu PF that the state media, managed by Moyo, was being used to push a factional agenda.

According to politburo insiders, party heavyweights aligned to Mujuru’s faction attacked Moyo, accusing him of fuelling clashes in the party using the state media.

The discussion exposed the factional fault-lines, with politburo members aligned to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa siding with Moyo on the appointment of editors to the state-run newspaper group, Zimpapers, who used to work at what Mugabe described as “anti-Zanu PF” media organisations.

Mugabe sided with Mujuru and her lieutenants who took advantage of the discussion to openly attack Moyo, whom they believe is behind media campaigns targeted at Mujuru and her allies.

Speakers from the Mujuru faction accused Moyo of leading a group in the party to discredit Mujuru and her allies ahead of the congress. They blamed the Information minister for abusing his office by allegedly using the media to target Mujuru, the most senior party member among those tipped to succeed Mugabe.

A top Zanu PF politburo member said: “Jonathan Moyo came under attack for the Zimpapers appointments. Members were questioning why people from newspapers and organisations that were anti-Zanu PF were being appointed editors.”

Another politburo member said: “The president led the discussion. He started off by asking why there is a report on people from the private media being appointed to top positions at Zimpapers when they are not reflecting the party’s thrust.

“The president said instead there is a lot of acrimony and divisions being caused by the state media. He was very angry — I have rarely seen him that angry.”

A report on the state media, believed to have been prepared by the Mujuru faction, was circulated ahead of the politburo meeting.

The politburo member said: “The discussion was very frank and people were able to express what they have been whispering in the corridors.

People even spoke on the statements made by Moyo after he was fired from Zanu PF in 2004 that the best way to destroy Zanu PF is to do it from within. They wanted to know if this was part of that strategy.

“Mai Mujuru also spoke strongly against what she described as a campaign to tarnish her image.”

In his defence, Moyo said the appointments were made to build a strong team in preparation for the 2018 elections.

“But Mugabe didn’t accept that explanation. What angered the president was that (Moyo) was doing it without consulting the President’s Office and security,” said the politburo member.

The recently established Information and Media panel of Inquiry (Impi) to assess the state of the information and media industry in Zimbabwe was mentioned as one such programme where there was no consultation.

“The president wanted to know what Impi was intended for and who was running the show and what Moyo wanted to do with the findings,” he said.

The Mujuru faction has always maintained that the salary scandal which involves senior executives in parastatals and quasi-state enterprises had assumed a factional and succession dimension.

The faction members claimed the salary scandal disclosures were being used to target their camp while sparing those linked to the faction led by Mnangagwa.

Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri defended Moyo arguing that the politburo should not rush to criticise him for poaching from the private media when there are senior party officials who have done worse by leaking information to the Americans as was revealed through WikiLeaks.

She also questioned why people were making noise about the journalists when the department of information employed Psychology Mazivisa, who used to write articles viciously attacking Zanu PF.

Between 2005 and 2010, Zanu PF officials, among them Mujuru, were exposed in the secret United States cables released by WikiLeaks as having met US diplomats to discuss Mugabe’s succession issue, health and other political issues.

Officials who defended Moyo included Mnangagwa and Saviour Kasukuwere.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo refused to comment on the attack on Moyo.

Gumbo however said it was agreed that the shareholding structure for the mining sector would be 51% local and 49% foreign while other sectors like manufacturing and finance would be negotiated on case-by-case basis.

Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema was directed to come up with a legal framework that clearly stated this position, which Mugabe has been publicly advocating.

“In mining which deals with natural resources, the policy remains at 51/49% but other sectors that deal with manufacturing and the financial sector, the shareholding will be negotiated. Anything outside mining will be negotiated,” Gumbo said.

Asked if the politburo had discussed the two empowerment models announced by Moyo a fortnight ago, Gumbo said: “They were not up for discussion. The president said we have to be very clear regarding natural resources but for other sectors, we will negotiate.”

In a lengthy interview with the Sunday Mail, Moyo said the Production Sharing Model (PSM) and the Joint Empowerment Investment Model (JEIM) had been identified as the foremost vehicles through which the indigenisation policy would now be implemented.

The PSM is a broad cover for an assortment of production-sharing agreements signed between governments and extraction companies relating to how much of a resource extracted from the country each would receive.

Under the JEIM, outside mining, agriculture and particular tourism investments, locals will be encouraged to enter joint ventures as a way of generating capital to build wholly Zimbabwean-owned enterprises.
However, Nhema said last week Moyo’s proposals were merely the minister’s personal opinion, not policy.

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