INFIGHTING within Zanu PF took a new twist this week, with one faction unearthing Information minister Jonathan Moyo's stories, where he called for President Robert Mugabe to step down, in an effort to sully his image.
Moyo is loath to seeing the stories he wrote against Mugabe after his expulsion from Zanu PF in 2005 being republished and at one time threatened to sue the Zimbabwe Independent and the Daily News for republishing his articles.
An unknown group, opposed to Moyo and probably linked to Vice-President Joice Mujuru yesterday reproduced two articles in full page advertorials in a local daily.
The group says they are youths against regime change from within Zanu PF.
A full page colour advertisement at the paper that carried their advert costs $2 150, evidence that the group will spare no expense at tarnishing Moyo's image.
Moyo, who has a stranglehold on State media which has been at the forefront of denigrating those seen as aligned to Mujuru, has been pointed out as the brains behind the campaign against the vice-president and the advertisements may be meant to knock him off his pedestal.
The advertorial by the unnamed youths is seen as a direct response to the publishing of Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo's interview done in 1980 by the Rhodesia Herald which is critical of Mugabe.
In his articles written in 2008 and 2011, when he was an independent legislator for Tsholotsho North, Moyo demanded Mugabe should resign, arguing that calls for the veteran ruler to go were "no longer a dismissible opposition slogan, but a strategic necessity".
The two articles reproduced by the unknown group titled Mugabe must go now: Jonathan Moyo published on March 7 2011 and Mugabe can't stomach defeat published on April 11 2008, were published by our sister papers, NewsDay and the Zimbabwe Independent, respectively.
In one article, Moyo said Mugabe's "continued stay in office has become such an excessive burden to the welfare of the State and such a fatal danger to the public interest of Zimbabweans".
"One does not need to be a malcontent to see that after 25 years of controversial rule and with the economy melting down as a direct result of that rule, Mugabe's continued stay in office has become such an excessive burden to the welfare of the State and such a fatal danger to the public interest of Zimbabweans at home and in the Diaspora that each day that goes by with him in office leaves the nation's survival at great risk, while seriously compromising national sovereignty," he wrote.
Moyo said Mugabe had at the time "publicly demonstrated his leadership incapacity to make way for an able and dynamic successor".
At one point, Moyo said Zanu PF claims that only Mugabe can secure the gains of the liberation struggle in general and the land reform programme in particular "are plain silly and if they are true, then God help us because Mugabe is not going to be with us for any sustainable period in revolutionary terms".
At the time, Moyo, who fell out with Zanu PF after he was accused of trying to re-engineer the party's leadership, said Mugabe was "now leader of a shelf political party that exists only in name".
According to Moyo, the pressing issue for Mugabe to go at the time was "to do with his own fallen standing in and outside the country".
"Mugabe now lacks the vision, stature and energy to effectively run the country, let alone his party. He is without compassion, maybe because he is now too old, too tired and not in the best of health," Moyo wrote.
Moyo, who has often accused others of instigating "bhora musango", an elaborate election campaign strategy that undermined Mugabe's 2008 presidential candidacy, accused the president of stealing the results of that election.
"(Mugabe did not win the 2008) election and is now desperately trying to steal the result through an unjustified recount because he does not have any prospect of winning a run-off or a re-run," the Information minister wrote.
It is yet to be seen what effect the advertorials will have, as Moyo's views were already in the public domain at the time of his re-admittance to Zanu PF.
However, the advertorials and the re-publishing of Gumbo's interviews show what depths the factions are willing to sink to in effort to denigrate each other.