By Sij Ncube
Harare, October 12, 2016 – LATEST corruption allegations implicating Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo over claims he siphoned over $400 000 of public funds confirm bad governance under President Robert Mugabe’s administration.
But analysts view this as part of President Robert Mugabe’s power rendition strategy to keep at bay warring camps in the faction-riddled party.
Since Sunday, both mainstream and social media have been awash with reports that Moyo, the controversial former Mugabe spin doctor and looted cash from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) under the disguise of buying bicycles for his constituency and partly to fund the burial of his daughter who died in Cape Town, South Africa last year.
While Moyo has vehemently denied any abuse of public funds, saying his use of some of the funds was beyond reproach claiming the monies were used to bankroll the Zanu PF so-called One-Million-Man March and the first lady Grace Mugabe’s rallies, Mugabe has been conspicuous by his silence.
In one of his many twits, he alleged he was being victimised by “tribalists” in Zanu PF, pointing some party big-wigs known to have looted diamonds and built mansions in rural areas were walking scot-free.
While Moyo continues to peddle various conspiracy theories, critics are adamant the sharp-tongued political science professor has once again fallen foul to Mugabe’s Machiavellian brand of politics as the veteran Zanu PF leader deftly maintains political equilibrium in the faction-riddled party.
Zanu PF is clearly divided into two camps; one perceived to be linked to Mugabe known as G40 and the other led by vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa and referred to as Team Lacoste.
Critics point out how Mugabe check-mated Mnangagwa in 2004 over the famous Tsholotsho debacle when it appeared the Midlands godfather was running away with it.
Mugabe came back in 2014 and flattened former vice president Joice Mujuru when she seemed and was taunted as the 92-year olds heir apparent.
When Mujuru was jettisoned, G40 looked firmly on the driving seat with Mugabe visiting all manner of brutality against Mnangagwa perceived allies such the country’s war veterans, among other Zanu PF
Analysts note that when all and sundry now thought the G40 was running away with it, Mugabe has waved his political magic wand covertly targeting G40 proponents Moyo and Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, in machinations the less political sophisticated deem as meant to prop up Mnangagwa.
Mugabe is now seen as trying to flatten the political landscape to balance the factional pendulum that he has so delicately balanced over the years.
Thulani Mswelanto, a programme officer with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, says beyond trying to create equilibrium between factions, what is evident is confirmation of a state built on a patronage
Mugabe rewards corrupt officials through immunity from prosecution, said Mswelanto.
“This culture of impunity contravenes the constitution which emphasises transparency and accountability as a bedrock our of society,” he added, pointing out that in the recent case, Moyo has clearly proven beyond doubt that apart from his criminal abuse of office and public funds, he has some members of the gravy train.
Moyo has named Livingstone Dzikira, the chief executive of the National Youth Council and Kudzayi Chipanga, the secretary of the Zanu PF Youth League as some of the two culprits whom he alleges to have converted to personal use 100 000litres of fuel meant for youth development projects.
“That, despite clear evidence of criminality, these officials have never faced the wrath of prosecution only exhibits the deeply entrenched patronage system in Zimbabwe,” said Mswelanto.
Ricky Mukonza, a political analyst who teaches public administration at South Africa’s Venda University of Science and Technology, said the linking of Moyo and other perceived G40 members to corruption is nothing new but the perpetuation of Mugabe’s power retention strategy.
“It is like this; create and maintain two symmetrical factions that are always at each other’s throat while real power in the party and government remains with me (Mugabe). When one faction appears to be
gaining more powerful, Mugabe comes in to weaken it, all for his own benefit. This strategy has been in operation since the early years of independence. It makes it clear that the man has no interest in passing on the button of power to anyone else. He wants to die in office.”
Former journalism lecturer, Reward Mushayabasa, who is now based in the United Kingdom, said Mugabe has perfected the act of divide and rule within and without his party.
“We have to give the devil his dues. Mugabe is the artful dodger and grand master of Machiavellian politics. I suppose that clearly explains why he has survived so long in Zimbabwean politics,” said Mushayabasa.
He has an uncanny knack of extricating himself each time he finds himself confronted with a difficult situation in his party. In brief, Mugabe has perfected the colonialists’ divide and rule tactics in weakening any challenges to his rule. That is the elixir of his dictatorship and it has served him very well over the years.”