Strive Masiyiwa is not a Zimbabwean Intellectual Prostitutes: Jonathan Moyo is!

I am sharing this for the benefit of those who do not have a complete background of where Jonathan Moyo is coming from.

Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF brothel is brimming with intellectual prostitutes, chameleons and collaborators. One notorious prostitute is PROFESSOR Jonathan Moyo, who was partly educated in southern California and used to teach political science at the University of Zimbabwe. He was a fierce critic of the Mugabe regime, writing newspaper articles that condemned President Mugabe in the strongest terms. The Professor sent such scathing comments to the Zimbabwe Mirror (May 1999):

“His [Mugabe’s} uncanny propensity to shoot himself in the foot has become a national problem which needs urgent containment.”

“Does the president not realize that when he belittles universal issues such as basic human rights he loses the moral high ground to his critics?”

Suddenly, within months of that writing that article, the same PROFESSOR Jonathan Moyo, had become the spokesman for the government-appointed Constitutional Commission, strenuously campaigning for the acceptance of the proposed new constitution. But the draft document was rejected in a national referendum in Feb 2000.

Despite this setback, Professor Moyo was appointed as the ruling ZANU-PF party’s campaign manager for the June 2000 general election. He took part in drawing up the government’s manifesto, which described the opposition as “plagiarists, sell-outs, shameless opportunists and merchants of confusion.” “Shameless opportunists”? He slammed whites who supported the opposition as “embittered racists using black mouthpieces to preach mean-spirited democracy”.

After a campaign marked by widespread violence and intimidation, ZANU-PF won a narrow majority in parliament and Professor Moyo was rewarded with a seat in the cabinet and the Politburo. Even though he did not contest the election, he was appointed as a non-constituency member of parliament. His immediate superior in the politburo, Nathan Shamuyarira, described him as “a very sharp, very bright intellectual.  “He’s good at rebutting the arguments of the opposition and at articulating the [ruling] party’s policies. He’s a definite asset.”

But a former friend, who worked with Professor Moyo at the University of Zimbabwe before he launched his political career, said he was shocked to see Professor Moyo as part of President Mugabe’s government: “He was so anti-government in those days. He was the loudest critic. And now here he is as Mugabe’s main cheerleader. I just don’t understand it.”  During a chance encounter at a local luxury hotel, the former friend asked, “Are you the same Professor Moyo I used to know?” (BBC News, 28 February, 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/1194553.stm)

Most Africans recognize this “conversion” as “politics of the belly,” or “stomach politics.” Indeed, from Dec 27 to Jan 8, 2003, Professor Moyo checked into the Mercure Hotel in Bedfordview, South Africa with four children and his wife, Betty. While there, he went on a shopping spree – surrounded by his bodyguards – and bought thousands of rands worth of food to take home to Zimbabwe, where more than two-thirds of the population of 11.6 million were desperate for something to eat. According to the Sunday Times (Jan 12, 2003),

“He bought a big-screen TV and a home theatre system. When he ran out of packing space in his luxury vehicles – a Pajero (registration number
752-098X), a Mercedes-Benz car (registration 752-082E) and a bakkie – Moyo filled a trailer (registration HYF 394 GP) with cooking oil, canned food , rice, sugar, mealie meal, polony, macaroni and bread.

After Moyo had departed, escorted by bodyguards, the Sunday Times
went inside room 806 and found five staff cleaning up the mess. The family had been enjoying appetizing holiday takeaways. Bits of uneaten food were lying on the floor. Empty bottles of beer were scattered about and at least four unopened dumpies of Moyo’s favorite beer had been left behind. Two trolleys were needed to remove the garbage.

The leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan
Tsvangirai, said he was horrified.
“This man has no shame at all. He goes to South Africa to buy his food while Zimbabweans are struggling to buy salt and bread. Where did he get the foreign currency when we do not have any in Zimbabwe? [President] Robert Mugabe is ordering food from London and Moyo is shopping in South Africa. These people are hypocrites” (Sunday Times, Jan 12, 2003).

During his tenure as information minister, he authored laws that restricted even the most basic political actions, such as handing out campaign materials or knocking on doors. Human rights groups rated Zimbabwe’s government as one of the most hostile in the world to press freedoms. He dismissed freedom of expression as “an outmoded concept,” shut down most independent newspapers and banned foreign correspondents from reporting without explicit official approval. He even crafted a law that imposed a two-year prison sentence on any journalist who slipped into the country. Under the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Moyo set up the Media and Information Commission (MIC) headed by former journalism lecturer Tafataona Mahoso to license media organizations and journalists. His harsh media law led to the arrests of journalists and the shutting of several newspapers, including the Daily News and The Tribune.

Trevor Ncube, who owned two independent weekly papers in Zimbabwe and who was a close friend of Moyo’s before Moyo joined the government, said he watched in astonishment as Moyo transformed himself:
“On paper, this person knows about democracy, but in office he has a streak that is worrisome. This streak is very dictatorial, very cruel,” Ncube said. “He will not stop at anything to get in power”(The Washington Post, March 26, 2005; p.A8)

Compulsive personal ambition and excessive lust for power became his Achilles heels. The end of Moyo’s career in government came at a ruling party meeting in November 2004 where he backed a candidate for vice president who was not favored by Mugabe. He allegedly crafted the infamous Tsholotsho Declaration to re-arrange the Zanu PF presidium. Moyo soon found himself marginalized, and in Feb 2005 he announced that he would leave the party to run for parliament as an independent candidate, defying a party decision to reserve the Tsholotsho seat for a female candidate.  Mugabe promptly fired him as a cabinet minister and expelled him from ZANU-PF, denouncing him as “enemy number one,” and gave him 48 hours to vacate his government house. Ministry of Local Government permanent secretary David Munyoro accordingly wrote to Moyo:
“I regret to advise that you are to vacate the villa with immediate effect. You are aware of the circumstances surrounding your occupation of villa 14262 Gunhill. Handover of the keys to my ministry should be done by/or before 1600 hrs on Sunday 27 February 2005.”

Moyo who ironically spent most of his time zealously defending illegal eviction of white farmers, pleaded with the High Court to bar the government from forcing him out of the Gunhill house, saying the move would be illegal. He wrote in his court papers:

“The said eviction of the applicant is illegal and without a court order and if allowed to proceed will cause great inconvenience and prejudice and therefore irreparable harm. I have not had time to serve this application on the respondent due to the imminence of the eviction which if effected would cause undue complications and hardships of an irreparable nature to both my family and me.


I believe that I am still entitled to my basic right to relocate on reasonable notice which at law stands at three months as verbally confirmed by Mr Munyoro over the telephone interview on 21st of February 2005. I have no place to which I can relocate my family at such short notice which notice is also illegal”  (Zim Online, March 1, 2005)
Poetic justice? But like a political chameleon, he re-invented himself to stand as an independent candidate in his hometown of Tsholotsho. He described the party he served for five years as aging, undemocratic, riven by internal disputes, filled with “deadwood” and likely to fall from power over the next several years.

“It’s quite possible ZANU-PF could lose these elections . . . The democratic experience is working in Zimbabwe. . . . The people in Zimbabwe are understanding what democracy means. Zimbabwe will be transformed democratically. I have no doubt about that” (The Washington Post, March 26, 2005; p.A8)

But Mugabe fired back, warning Moyo against breaking with the government, telling him, “The whole machinery of the party will fall on you and you will be demolished.” Mugabe claimed that Moyo had plotted a coup in his final days as information minister, meeting with senior military commanders and doing “terrible things.” “When Moyo was privately confronted with evidence of his duplicity, the president said, “tears started flowing down his cheeks.” (The Washington Post, March 26, 2005; p.A8)

He won his parliamentary bid, however. Like most of rural southern Zimbabwe, Tsholotsho North had been neglected after Mugabe took power in 1980. His attacks on ZANU-PF did not cease. In 2007, he described the party as a “dead duck on the shelf, only breathing from evils of state security and the abuse of funds.” In Dec 2008, in an interview with Reuters, Moyo denounced ZANU-PF as a “tribal clique” with no respect for democracy. The party, as he often said, was full of geriatrics clinging to power. But Tsholotsho North was too confining for Moyo’s super-sized ego and ambition. Like a frog out of a swamp he needed to get back in. Accordingly, he resorted to the old art of scrofulous prostitution.In the Aug 25, 2009 issue of The Herald, he launched a vitriolic attack on Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. He wrote:
“The self-evident fact which Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara has sought to hide through his attention seeking statement that are manifestly inconsistent and insane is that while he is a political principal on paper, as per his signature on the GPA, he is not a political principal in reality on the ground.”

He saw an opportunity when Vice President Joseph Msika passed away. With an eye on that vacant post, he pulled all stops. Within days after Msika’s funeral on Aug 19, 2009, Moyo sent a letter to secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, seeking re-admission into ZANU-PF. He might be re-admitted, used against and tossed aside like a rag.

Best Regards,

Dr. George Ayittey