In a surprise turn of events, the Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Commission (Zacc) summoned and detained Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo for five hours on Wednesday, following weeks of pingpong attacks between the statutory antigraft body and the embattled Zanu PF politburo member.
The unexpected move came after the under siege Moyo stunningly accused Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in an explosive statement on Tuesday, of using Zacc and other key institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and State media to advance the VP’s mooted presidential aspirations. Wellplaced sources told the Daily News that Moyo, who was interrogated on the muchpublicised, but hotlycontested multiple charges of corruption that he faces, was released at around 8pm into the custody of his lawyer Terrence Hussein, having been detained at about 3pm.
The Tsholotsho North legislator is expected to appear in court tomorrow, amid revelations that his Higher Education deputy and coaccused, Godfrey Gandawa, would also face the gun this week. A guarded Zacc spokesperson, Phyllis Chikundura, had earlier confirmed that they had summoned Moyo to their offices. “I can confirm that we have summoned him (Moyo) and he is being interrogated right away, but we have no official statement as yet. We are not sure when the process is going to end, so we may have the official statement by tomorrow (today),”
Chikundura told the Daily News ealier. Moyo and Gandawa are facing serious fraud, money laundering and criminal abuse of office charges, including claims that the former irregularly benefited from Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) donations that involved the purchase of bicycles which he donated to his Tsholotsho North constituency. The ensuing storm has not only exposed Zanu PF’s nasty tribal, factional and succession fissures, but also the ruling party’s gross abuse of State resources to advance its interests and those of its senior officials. Moyo’s hardhitting statement on Tuesday once again laid bare the deadly factional and succession wars that are ripping apart President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF, after he bluntly accused Mnangagwa and his supporters of allegedly abusing Zacc and other key State apparatus to destroy him and to allegedly advance the VP’s presidential ambitions
Zanu PF insiders who spoke to the Daily News then said the unprecedented statement was set to shake both the ruling party and the government to their core, after Moyo also gave notice of his intention to sue Mnangagwa, Information minister Christopher Mushohwe and Information permanent secretary George Charamba — among many others — for smearing him. One stunned insider described the statement as “one more nail in the coffin” of the bitterlydived Zanu PF, adding ruefully that the former liberation movement had “long reached a point of no return and will never be the same again”.
In the hardhitting statement, Moyo said instead of being an “independent body”, Zacc was now a vehicle for the furtherance of factional agendas, as Mnangagwa allegedly fought hard to succeed Mugabe. “On their own admission, as subsequently confirmed by … Mnangagwa, Zacc, in circumstances that are unclear, met with … Mnangagwa at least twice to discuss allegations that Zacc was putting together in relation to me. “After these meetings with the vice president, commissioner Goodson Nguni claimed to various persons that the vice president communicated to them that my arrest had been cleared (ostensibly by Mugabe) when this in fact was not true,” he said.
“I have learnt, and it has been established that these meetings with the vice president (Mnangagwa) are not meetings provided for by the law, and were intended to secure that the political ends currently being pursued by the vice president are advanced in relation to what has become public knowledge about the desire to secure a front foot in succession politics,” Moyo added. This comes as the Higher Education minister has come under withering assault from Zacc and State media over hotlycontested allegations that he abused Zimdef monies
The Daily News has not been able to ascertain what Mugabe’s position is with regards to his brawling lieutenants’ worsening succession wars, which are impacting negatively on Zanu PF, State institutions and the country as a whole. However, the increasingly frail nonagenarian chastised his underlings last week, further claiming that the media were exaggerating the party’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars. But Moyo said bluntly in his statement that his current political and legal woes were allegedly part of Mnangagwa’s grand scheme to smear his reputation as a minister, MP and politburo member.
“It is clear from Zacc’s own records that the decision to effect my arrest was taken at the vice president’s office and subsequently rubberstamped, if at all, by the commissioners,” he said, adding that such decisions were unlawful and open to challenge. He also claimed that Zacc was being used in the ruling party’s ugly succession politics as a weapon to attack individuals who held divergent views on the country’s political discourse. “The events manifest at Zacc in the past few weeks in relation to me are a culmination of a calculated political strategy to use the socalled ‘anticorruption campaign’ as a political tool,” he thundered. He also suggested that Nguni was the “emissary” of the Lacoste political faction at Zacc, adding that the Zacc commissioner had a “political relationship” with Mnangagwa.
Moyo, a former Information minister, also said State media were being used to malign him. “It is clear from the AntiCorruption Act that the chairperson of the commission, who by qualification, is eligible for appointment as a judge of the High Court, did not address the press conference nor did his deputy who happens to be the commissioner responsible for the media. “How it happens that a constitutional body finds itself hijacked by one person who actually delivers a press conference in his personal capacity but purporting to represent the commission is a travesty of procedure and in fact is in itself corruption in the extreme warranting investigation by relevant authorities including the police,” he said.
“It is against this background that has no precedence since Zimbabwe’s independence that, on advise, I have taken, and after wide consultations I have resolved to institute legal action against … Nguni, Zacc … George Charamba … Christopher Mushohwe … Mnangagwa,” Moyo said, further citing Zimpapers, its editors and newspapers which he said had written and carried offending stories about him. He said besides Zacc having no arresting powers, it had attempted on four occasions to arrest him at Zanu PF headquarters, his house, his ministerial office and at Parliament. He also said the NPA was also being used in the alleged plot to arrest him, further stating that some senior officers from the authority were part of the meeting with Zacc and Mnangagwa.
He said this had undermined the independence of the NPA, an aspect which he said had been exacerbated by the appointment of the acting ProsecutorGeneral Ray Goba. He further accused Nguni and Goba of being convicted criminals, adding that their appointments had been administered by Mnangagwa. “These patently unlawful appointments are not by coincidence but are intended to capture State institutions, and further a factional political cause by the use of individuals who are not fit and proper persons as willing weapons against perceived political opponents.
In view of these matters, I am taking legal action against the NPA. “For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to categorically state that the socalled Zacc allegations against me are false, malicious, political, tribal, factional and are an unjustified and illegal attack on my ministerial and parliamentary responsibilities as assigned to me by the appointing authority, His Excellency, the president. I have not committed any crime under any law,” he fumed. He said he had donated bicycles to his Tsholotsho constituency using his ministerial discretion to address a need in the marginalised community, adding that since his readmission into Zanu PF following the “coup plot attempt” which came to be known as the Tsholotsho Declaration, he had vowed to render his allegiance to Mugabe and would neither be pursuaded or railroaded by anyone to deviate from that vow