THE unusual step by the police to summon Information minister Jonathan Moyo for questioning over the Baba Jukwa saga could be the clearest indication yet that President Robert Mugabe is ready to sacrifice the Zanu PF strategist.
According to his lawyer Terrence Hussein, Moyo was “invited to issue a couple of clarifications in a matter that is before the courts”.
Police last month arrested Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi in connection with the phantom Facebook blogger, who claimed to be a Zanu PF top official frustrated by corruption in the party.
The arrest was preceded by an unprecedented attack on Moyo by Mugabe who described the minister as devil incarnate.
Mugabe also spoke of weevils that had infiltrated Zanu PF and promised to take action.
Some believe Mugabe’s anger was sparked by revelations that Kudzayi who was appointed after Moyo’s return to the ministry, was linked to a website that carried a story claiming that his daughter Bona was raped.
One of the charges that Kudzayi is facing is that he called Mugabe a dictator in an opinion article.
MDC-T politician Job Sikhala predicted that Mugabe would be forced to drop Moyo from the politburo at the Zanu PF congress set for December.
Moyo is one of the officials that would be affected by new Zanu PF regulations that seek to exclude those who have not served the party for a long period of time. This would mean that the former Tsholotsho North MP would be at Mugabe’s mercy as a Zanu PF top official and government minister.
Bulawayo-based political analyst Dumisani Nkomo said Moyo was a victim of factionalism in the ruling party.
He said some sections of the party were eager to put him in his place after the crusade against corruption led by the State media early this year.
The State media had started to report openly about Zanu PF factionalism and general decay in the party before Mugabe’s devil incarnate out burst.
“The summoning of Moyo comes as a result of factionalism and this is a signal that he is just a small boy in the party. Moyo exposed corruption in parastatals and the other faction thought he was using media to sell them out .The action by the police could be retaliatory,” Nkomo said
In May Moyo rode rough shod over the police after they blocked the Press Freedom Day march by Harare-based journalists.
However, former Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa said there was nothing unusual about the police summoning a minister as no one was above the law. He said a misconception had emerged that ministers could not be arrested resulting in some criminal activities going unpunished.
“The summoning of Moyo last week was a good thing and people at least now know that anybody including ministers can be arrested. When l was minister of Home Affairs l had (the late) Kumbirai Kangai put in the police cells for overnight for fraud and he appeared in court the following day,” he said.
“Many ministers then could be fined for example over speeding and other offences, so his questioning is not unique. Ministers today give orders to policemen to release offenders, during my time this was unheard of. That was the right thing that police did and they should have been doing this long ago and not to him (Moyo) alone, but everybody except the president as the constitution puts it.”
National University of Science and Technology lecturer Lawton Hikwa concurred with Dabengwa saying no one was above the law.
“Moyo was summoned to the police station for questioning about the Baba Jukwa thing and actually he was helping police with some investigations. People thought ministers could not be called by police for questioning and that is the reason why people were surprised as to how a minister could be called by police. The summoning of witnesses is an operative routine of the police. Anybody can be summoned and questioned by the police. People think ministers are above the law,” he said.
Moyo has had a love-hate relationship with Mugabe who first brought him to the government in 2002 before sacking him in 2005.
The political scientist was linked to the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration that sought to influence Mugabe’s succession.
Several Zanu PF chairpersons were suspended from the party for seeking to oust Vice-President Joice Mujuru from her post.
Moyo went on to win the Tsholotsho North parliamentary seat as an independent candidate twice before retracing his footsteps back to Zanu PF.
He lost last year’s parliamentary elections to Roselyn Nkomo of MDC-T, but is credited for Zanu PF’s surprise election victory and rescuing Mugabe from the jaws of defeat in 2008.