The SABC’s Foreign Editor Sophie Mokoena speaks to Jonathan Moyo, the former Higher Education minister under former president Robert Mugabe. Moyo fled the country during the military-backed takeover by now President Emmerson Mnangagwa in November 2017.
Moyo has re-iterated his views that the new administration is the product of a coup and that Sadc and the African Union erred in recognising it.
Q: What happened in Zimbabwe?
A: The so-called succession dispute between the (Mnangagwa) faction which called itself Lacoste and the so-called G40 that we were associated with was a power grab related to factional fights within Zanu-PF.
It had nothing to do with the public interest; it had nothing to do with national interest, nothing to do with territorial integrity of Zimbabwe.
It was an unprecedented act by the military in Zimbabwe that had never been seen before in the region to descend down to the level of squabbles in a political party.
Q: Before this happened, there was a constant attack on Mnangagwa and those perceived to be Lacoste and you were classified as a member of the G40. That was provocation if you listen to what the first lady was saying at rallies.
A: Are we being told that if there is a spirited political campaign in a political party, and in this case the ruling party, and it is being said at meetings, rallies where there is robust debate and tough things are said about political leaders, that in the new Sadc and new AU, when that happens, it’s a recipe for a coup, it’s a recipe for a military coup? Is that what we are being told?
There was an equivalent spirited debate taking place in the ANC here in places such as Kwa-Zulu Natal and many others were strong ideological views to do with state capture, the state of the economy, corruption accusations that even the president of South Africa faced where some quite robust debate took place , let alone the deputy president.
Are we being told that when that happens, then the army should use force and unleash tanks, in order to take a side?
The Zimbabwe precedent is a dangerous one, it’s uncivilised. It is unbelievable that in 2017 you can get an army descending unprofessionally, unconstitutionally to the level where a permanent secretary in the ministry of Information believes that he has been insulted at a political rally, therefore because he is good buddies with the head of the army, they are going to use that to justify the deployment of an army in the whole country.
The country was under military siege from the 15th of November to the 18th of December because of that.
What is really of concern to the members of the former Zanu-PF as it was before is that ED, General Chiwenga (Constantino), and all these people in the military cabal associated with the bloody coup are the very same people who orchestrated the downfall of the-then vice president Joice Mujuru
Q: But the first lady herself constantly attacked Emmerson Mnangagwa who was vice president.
A: First of all, I want to repeat the fact that even if what you are saying were true, which of course is not true, but assuming that it is, it cannot justify a military coup.
This is the most important point than the one you are making.
We cannot accept a situation where we start taking a position that the end justifies the means so as long as we want to grab power.
You start to find a pretext to say did you not see the humiliation of a particular leader by the first lady.
Let us go to the facts. The fact of the matter is that Grace Mugabe as the first lady and the president went through unbelievable humiliation, unbelievable humiliation.
The people who are raising this either suffer form selective memory or were part of the coup.
Q: Are you corrupt?
A: No. In fact, that is laughable. Seriously laughable. Firstly, this is coming from the most corrupt politicians and public officials in the history of our country.
They cannot account for the assets that they have.
The richest individual in Zimbabwe is … Mnangagwa. The one person responsible for setting up Zanu-PF companies when he was secretary for finance is Emmerson Mnangagwa.
There is not a single cent that comes out of those companies that includes a bank and investments in the region in countries like Namibia and South Africa.
The person who led the plunder of resources even in foreign countries such as DRC leading to the United Nations investigating him and coming up with a report that is still there is…. Mnangagwa along with the military cabal of General Chiwenga and SB Moyo.
The person who brought the Chinese to plunder diamonds in Chiadzwa to a point where we have at the very least over a period from 2007 to 2014 some $12 billion to $15 billion worth of diamonds revenue that cannot be accounted for that went into the pockets of individuals.
These people have staged this coup not only for the sake of power grab, but to cover up for their corruption. That command agriculture was nothing but a looting scheme.
Q: But some are saying that programme was aimed at assisting farmers and that you are only saying that to cover up for your own corruption.
A: What is our own corruption? In my case they say for example that I took $430 000 from Zimdef when they know very well that of all the money in question, which does not even amount to that, about $200 000 went to the ministry’s participation in Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZTIF) in 2016 and we won.
We became the first ministry to win the top prize since its establishment during the Rhodesia era.
The remainder of that money supported approved Zanu-PF programmes, the other $100 000 went to support a programme designed to bring together government departments, schools and traditional leaders to support science education in Tsholotsho, one of the marginalised districts in the country and victim of Gukurahundi atrocities committed by the same cabal. Not a single cent came to me.
Q: But people say you were dispensing patronage
A: When does it become patronage? The fact of the matter is that I was a minister with discretion to decide how to use the funds and there were procedures for using the funds.
Q: Is the problem perhaps how Zanu-PF has conducted itself using State resources earmarked for all Zimbabweans to sustain itself. The party abusing State resources?
A: I think there are serious questions like that that need to be answered …
Q: It was under Mugabe when it was happening
A: It was under …. Mnangagwa, let us not play this simple game of saying it was under president Mugabe and now we have a different government, different from Mugabe’s government when in fact the instigators and main players over the 37-year period are these especially (Emmerson) Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa cannot convince the world that he is different from Mugabe. It is going to be the worst act of treachery, the worst that the region has ever seen.
Q: But he is changing policies?
A: No, he has not changed policies, he has slogans and anecdotes that are cynical, that are desired to placate the western world, to make it appear that he is very different.
There is no economic policies, his minister of Finance, is also the minister of Economic Development, there is no economic development policy as we speak right now that is different from the one which was in place in 2013 that Zanu-PF adopted.
Their 100 days so-called is driven by anecdotes and slogans. It is not driven by any coherent underlying policy or message with a new fundamental.
Is he really trying to tell the world that there is something he wanted to do in 37 years but he could not do because he was stopped by Mugabe from doing that and he has to get rid of president Mugabe in order to do that?
Is that what Emmerson Mnangagwa wants to say? Is Emmerson Mnangagwa telling the world that he had nothing to do with Gukurahundi atrocities?
Q: But he has reached out those who were affected.
A: First of all it’s a lie, he has not done that, I was in the leadership with him in making the new Zimbabwean Constitution adopted in 2013. Emmerson Mnangagwa and Patrick Chinamasa who were the frontline voice of Zanu-PF during that process, fought very hard to ensure that the national peace and reconciliation process that is in the Constitution does not have the “truth.”
First of all they did not want it in Zanu-PF. Emmerson Mnangagwa and Patrick Chinamasa led the opposition of peace and reconciliation commission.
They did not want it, they came to the politburo, we had long contestations nights, we debated those issues.
Emmerson Mnangagwa did not want that commission at all, I want to place this on record, that’s number one. Number 2, as a result of that, we ended up with a weakened down commission that did not include the truth.
The proposal was to have a truth and reconciliation commission, you cannot have peace and reconciliation when you had atrocities like Gukurahundi.
We must have truth telling, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Patrick Chinamasa succeed in removing the truth component and got Zanu-PF to accept the current structure in the constitution of a peace and reconciliation only on grounds that it did not include truth.
This is very important. He can’t come today and say I had done this when recent history tells a different story. Much more telling is when the former vice president `Phelekezela Mphoko was spearheading the bill which became law recently.
It was spearheaded in Parliament not by Emmerson Mnangagwa but by Phelekezela Mphoko. Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Lacoste members of Parliament gave Mphoko a torrid time, they did not want it . They wanted to kill it and we ended up with a watered down bill because of the opposition that it faced from Mnangagwa and Lacoste members of Parliament that made it clear that they did not support it ,they did not hide it.
They did not think there would be a coup in Zimbabwe on the 15th of November, history would have it.
It has created this opportunity for Mnangagwa, which he is not able to take, because he came to power via the gun and found on president Mugabe’s desk a bill already passed, waiting just to be signed and he has signed it opportunistically after fighting this. And as he signs it, five years has gone for the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
It’s a commission with only 10 years from August 2013. He can’t associate with it, it is not going to deliver what it was meant least not because it is now driven by the number one perpetrator of atrocities.
Q: There are allegations that you are a foreign agent. How far true is this? Are you working for foreign governments to destabilise Zimbabwe?
A: This is a startling allegation coming from people who have used this way back even before independence.
When it comes to people like Mnangagwa and general Chiwenga in particular, if you are educated and not available to them, not working for them, you are by definition a spy, you are a foreign agent because as far as they are concerned, patriotic Zanu-PF members support them and you work for them. If you are not, you must be an agent, working for the so called enemy.
In the world of espionage, spies, VPs and generals who sit in Joc (Joint Operations Command) and know what is being planned; these are the people who sell information. They used to say that to young people joining the liberation struggle for training coming wearing a T-shirt with a number and say that, ‘aaah, it’s your spy number.’
But you must be well positioned to be a spy so you can make a deference..
Q: Are you willing to go back to Zimbabwe?
A: The issue is not about us reconciling with coup makers. It’s about returning the country to constitutional order, the country must return to civilian rule.
Q: But how does that happen under the circumstances given that the region and the continent have accepted him and some people are moving forward?
A: A lot of people said that about Rwanda, that there was a stable government and that people had moved on, but look carefully back and take some lessons. The fact that …
Q: Are we saying there is likely to be internal conflict in Zimbabwe?
A: If the fundamental issues around the coup are not resolved, there is no doubt about that. There is a lot of bottled up tension.
Q: Is that perhaps a threat and are you not involved in mobilising people?
A: No, but I mean look; does anyone really rethink in 2017 you can put tanks in the streets, brutalise people in the way they did and torture members of State organs responsible for security in the president’s department, the police and the army and get away with it?
Q: But the new government has warned against any retaliation.
A: But he says one thing during the day and something completely happens during the night. Everyone now knows there are serious tensions between him and the military cabal led by general Chiwenga, very serious tensions.
He told the AU that president Mugabe is safe and secure and got applauded but that is not true.
He also said he is working hard to preserve his legacy when he is doing the opposite. They are harassing the president’s family on a daily basis.
Q: The family is allegedly involved in corruption. Are they not supposed to account for that?
A: He says he is preserving his legacy and at the same time says his family is involved in corruption. What judicial process has come up with this information.
People are using political and media platforms to harass the president.
When you make conclusions outside judicial processes, you are harassing the president and his family.
That is what harassment is. You are engaging in dirty politics, you want to silence them, and you are instilling fear.
If there is a case, a civilised constitutional government follows the judicial process; it does not follow rallies, innuendos. And Mnangagwa has been going to these countries because he is panicking.
He knows more than many people know about his legitimacy, so he wants to convince these countries that I am legitimate. In the process, he is telling a lot of false stories which humiliate the president.
When he left Namibia he alleged that when he had a phone call with him he didn’t remember that he had fired him. Which is preposterous?
What he didn’t understand was that while he was holed up somewhere wherever he was, when the president made that phone call, he was not making it alone.
The African Union and Sadc should not base their decisions on what the coup makers say about what the people of Zimbabwe say and on what the victims of the coup say.
The only legitimate way is to have a fact-finding mission. You can’t have these conclusions that it was a bloodless coup and lawful so forth without coming down to the ground to hear also from the victims.
If as we say in southern Africa, if Zimbabwe did it, why can’t Malawi do it, why can’t Zambia do it, why can’t Mozambique do it?.
Q: Have you spoken to Mugabe recently?
A: No, I have not spoken to him recently. I would like to do that and I can only do that when an opportunity avails itself.
We are concerned about his continued harassment. Certainly I hope he is well and had peace of mind.
But rationally speaking, he cannot be. How can he be well when we know that he was forced to resign when we know that he did not voluntarily write that letter.
He was threatened that if he did not sign, he was going to go the (former Libyan leader Muammar) Gaddafi way, that they were going to mobilise people and let them march to his residence, he was confined there, tried to engage the coup makers but they were bent on humiliating them. So how can he be well…?
A: And that his peers where quiet when that was happening?
Q: I think this is why some of them have a lot of thinking to do and I am sure their God has been visiting their conscience because some of what they allowed to happen might, will happen to them and they will regret.
And you know, this whole thing to say, you say while this was wrong, yes it was a coup, because it was about removing Mugabe, then its fine, doesn’t work.
That cannot be a civilised virtue. Just because we have issues with Mugabe does not justify a foul means.
Q: But he had stayed for too long.
A: Are you going to say if you are elected such that you say too long…?
Q: But people argue that the elections were not free and fair?
A: Therefore let’s have a military coup? Is that what you are prescribing?