No one will arrest embattled Zimbabwean Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo, who is alleged to have siphoned off over 400,000 US dollars meant for Zimbabwe’s manpower development, says Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
Moyo and his deputy, Godfrey Gandawa, are embroiled in a corruption scam and alleged to have abused money from the Zimbabwe
Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) to sponsor their personal and the governing Zanu PF’s activities.
“We will not allow our members from Zanu PF to be arrested,” Mphoko told a rally in Norton, a small town 40km southwest of Harare, on Thursday.
“Even public service and social welfare minister Prisca] Mupfumira, here on a programme supporting Zanu PF in dishing out farming inputs to our members. She will not be arrested. I promise you no one will touch you.”
Mphoko, a former envoy to Botswana and South Africa, is said to have blocked Moyo’s arrest last week when Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) officials wanted to take him away.
The Zacc says Moyo channelled Zimdef funds to Zanu PF rallies as well as buying bicycles and tricyles for traditional leaders in his constituency.
Speaking at the same rally on Thursday, Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere also defended Moyo’s actions in the process, saying: ‘Zanu PF will use state funds to defend our government.
“If we are being arrested for taking government funds to defend the government, we are prepared to go to Chikurubi maximum security prison.”
Mphoko and Kasukuwere’s sentiments come a day after co-Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told Parliament on Wednesday that no one was above the law, except President Robert Mugabe.
“All that we are supposed to take into cognisance is that it is only the president who has immunity, and all the other persons in this country can be arrested and are under the laws of this country corruption can be tackled through the laws crafted by Parliament and it is up to MPs to strengthen them and make them deterrent,”Mnangagwa said.
Moyo himself has challenged politicians accusing him of abusing the Zimdef funds to leave him alone. Speaking at a graduation ceremony at Madziwa Teachers’ College, about 140km north of the capital, on Thursday, he said there was nothing wrong with him using public funds to bankroll Zanu PF activities and community projects in his Tsholotsho North constituency.
“It’s one thing for people to disagree with or not like my choices, but quite another for them to label the choices unusual, illegal, or corrupt, simply because my choices do not accord with their political agenda,”he was quoted in a local daily newspaper as saying.
“I object to that in the strongest possible terms and I will fight to the bitter end to be left alone to fully discharge my responsibilities as given to me by my appointing authority. Please leave me alone!.”