Former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo says he has always held President Emmerson Mnangagwa in contempt mainly for his role in the Gukurahundi atrocities which left an estimated 20 000 people dead.
He said although former president Robert Mugabe and ex-Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi also played a role during Gukurahundi, it was Mnangagwa who led the pack.
Gukurahundi refers to the dark phase after the country’s independence in the 1980s, when the army turned against innocent civilians, mainly in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions.
In a blizzard of tweets, Moyo who is living in exile after fleeing the country last November following a soft military coup that toppled Mugabe, said as he was growing up, he always heard negative stories about Mnangagwa — something that shaped his view of the country’s second executive president after independence.
“First, the widely held view that Mnangagwa and I have, at any time before now, been so-called political allies, or that I supported him in the Tsholotsho saga, is pure fiction. Mnangagwa and I know only too well that we’ve always held each other in mutual contempt. Ever since.
“As captured in WikiLeaks, on December 21, 2001 Mnangagwa, as Speaker of Parliament, ‘voiced his disdain’ for me to United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Joseph Sullivan. He said that knowing I too was, as I still am, disdainful of him as the ugly face of what’s wrong with Zanu PF and Zimbabwe,” said Moyo.
While Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, could not be reached for comment yesterday, the Media, Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary recently lunged at Moyo in a weekly column he allegedly pens under a pseudonym.
In the article, Charamba said he was bemused by “this innumerate professor” who he said was now irrelevant in Zimbabwe’s body politic but “reaps and profits from gullibility in many newsrooms.”
“Nothing gets him more panting and sweating than the fear of the what-might-have-been. Today, he nurses his once vaulting ambition, now nicely shaved and cropped down to midget size. Immaculately dressed as befits all pretentious, perfect coxcombs, he daily inanely plies the roads of Nairobi, vainly fending off engulfing oblivion, and forlornly counting on his tweeting finger to redeem his vanished flourish,” he wrote of the former Cabinet minister who he said “limped past the border, gnawed by grave terror, bravely unencumbered by the impertinences of filial family care.”
Recently, Mnangagwa told the BBC that he “is as soft as wool” as he rebuffed allegations that he is as ruthless and patient as the crocodile — the cold blooded reptile from which he derives his moniker “ngwena”.
“I am a very soft person in life, I am a Christian…you have heard so many bad things about me but as you relate with me you will realise that I am a very nice man,” said Mnangagwa in the interview.
However, Moyo said even during the country’s liberation struggle, Mnangagwa’s name was synonymous with crimes against fellow comrades.
Former Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, who was among a group that was thrown into a pit by Mugabe and Mnangagwa in 1977 following internal squabbles, has previously said the 75-year-old politician was just like his predecessor.