Exiled former ministers Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Zhuwao last week wrote a joint letter apologising to Zanu PF members for supporting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rival Nelson Chamisa in the 2018 elections.
They were associated with the #ZanuPFMustGo hashtag as they piled pressure on Mnangagwa to step aside.
Zhuwao and Moyo were part of the G40 faction associated with former first lady Grace Mugabe.
Zhuwao and Moyo fled into exile alongside their fellow colleague Saviour Kasukuwere in November 2017 after a rival faction led by Mnangagwa toppled the late Robert Mugabe in a coup.
Some of the G40 members such as former youth leader Kudzai Chipanga have trooped back to Zanu PF. Moyo and Zhuwao’s letter has sparked speculation that the two are also plotting a return to the ruling party.
Our reporter Priveledge Gumbodete (PG) on Friday spoke to Moyo (JM).
Below are the excerpts from the interview.
PG: There has been a lot of speculation after your letter that you are seeking readmission into Zanu PF. What is the true position?
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JM: You are putting the burden of other people’s speculation on me.
Yet there is no rational or objective reason for me to respond to their speculation about an open and, therefore, public letter written to members of Zanu PF.
The difference between Zanu PF members and Zanu PF officials is like that of day and night.
Even dunderheads know that “members” are not “officials.”
Therefore, logically speaking, your question does not arise, not least because, as a speculative question, it is tantamount to political phishing.
PG: Are you open to re-joining Zanu PF? They have responded and welcomed your letter.
The party went further to suggest that you are welcome to re-join. Have you considered the offer?
JM: The apology letter that Cde Patrick Zhuwao and I wrote to Zanu PF members was not an application to re-join Zanu PF, it was what the letter says it is, and the contents thereof are self-explanatory.
There’s no need to jump the gun, which made us jump borders in November 2017.
You say that the “party has suggested” that we are welcome to re-join, but if it is a suggestion as you put it, then it is just that, a suggestion.
I’m not familiar with the politics of suggestions.
The bottom line is that you do not cross any river which is not in front of you.
The joining and re-joining narrative is coming from busybodies, trying to set their own nefarious agendas. Let them stew in their own fat.
PG: Critics have been using the letter to attack your character as well as intentions given that you are apologising to a party, which has resulted in your current predicament.
JM: The “critics” you are referring to are in fact my political opponents and in particular Nelson Chamisa’s supporters.
Critics and political opponents are not the same thing.
It is an open secret that Nelson Chamisa’s supporters have been falling on each other on various social media platforms, long before the letter that Cde Patrick Zhuwao and I wrote to Zanu PF members to apologise for our use of and association with the #Zanu PFMustGo hashtag.
Cde Zhuwao and I are not in any predicament whatsoever, but if we were in any predicament, it would be preposterous to say Zanu PF members are responsible for that predicament.
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In personal terms, we are doing very well, but that is a story for another day.
We did not write our letter to Zanu PF members out of any predicament, but out of a long-held realisation that it was wrong and ill-advised of us to use and associate with the #Zanu PFMustGo hashtag.
We have never had any quarrel or fight with Zanu PF members, and we in fact have no reason to wish or want to see the vanishing of their historic and revolutionary movement that liberated Zimbabwe, and a movement to which we ourselves are intimately connected with.
Otherwise, as my political opponents, Nelson Chamisa’s supporters can attack my character, drag in my late daughter and do all the kinds of demonisation with ad hominem slurs that they have been unleashing for the better of the year for all they want; but I did not write the letter alone; it’s a joint letter by Cde Zhuwao and me; and the attacks by Nelson Chamisa’s supporters will not deflect our attention from the focus of our apology to Zanu PF members.
The fact is that our apology to all Zanu PF members is noticeably clear, and it stands, we mean it and we will say more about it down the line.
PG: In 2017, you narrated some events that led you to flee the country for safety.
Have you forgiven those that put your life and that of your family in danger?
JM: Healing is not an overnight experience, especially where the experience was traumatic and affected one’s children, including a minor.
But when all is said and done, the content of the character of humanity as created by God is to learn and to be able to forgive.
In reality out there, to err and to forgive are both human.
While I have not pondered the question that you have posed with my family, I am old enough, and I have seen a lot in my life, to know that existentially speaking, there is nothing in life that is not healed by time.
PG: Opposition supporters from the Citizens Coalition for Change camp have used the letter as proof of claims that you wanted to infiltrate their party ahead of 2023.
JM: Well, if that is what CCC chaps think, then it means they are functionally illiterate and do not know what infiltration means.
The infiltrators are already deep in CCC, and Nelson Chamisa himself said as much only a few days ago.
The fact is that at no time did I or Cde Zhuwao seek membership of either MDC-A or CCC, never ever; not even for a second or a minute.
So how can I seek to infiltrate something that I never sought to be part of?
The claim of Nelson Chamisa’s supporters is political madness on steroids.
If anyone wants to know anything of some political value about this, it is a matter of the public record that Zhuwao, Edmund Kudzayi and I worked with and supported Nelson Chamisa publicly and openly around the clock in his 2018 presidential election campaign.
There was no, and there will never be any, sustainable suggestion that we infiltrated Chamisa or his party in 2018.
We were actually his campaign’s reliable backbone when Tsvangirai’s MDC base deserted Chamisa; including many who are now jumping up and down, pretending to support him while gratuitously demonising us in the hope of getting retweets and likes on Twitter to grow their own personal accounts.
As far as the 2023 election campaign is concerned, I told Chamisa in writing in November 2021 that I will not campaign for him in 2023 or do anything like what I did for him in 2018; Chamisa has that information which I gave him and my reasons in November 2021. I have also said this on my Twitter handle many times before.
So, there could not have been any question of either Zhuwao or me infiltrating Nelson Chamisa or his CCC or whatever party he is going to contest the 2023 elections; because I told him directly in November that I was not going to support him in 2023.
And here is my point about this; based on working closely with Nelson Chamisa and supporting him around the clock from 2018 to 2021, I reached a truly clear conclusion that he and his noisy supporters are unhelpable and unsupportable.
That is the bottomline, everything else is irrelevant.
PG: We are almost nine months away from the 2023 general elections. Do you think the country is now prepared to hold free, fair and credible elections?
JM: No, I don’t think any rational or fair-minded person would say that the necessary political, institutional and legal imperatives to hold free, fair and credible elections are now in place for the 2023 harmonised general election due within the next nine months, the delimitation exercise is yet to be finalised and it is surrounded by lots of questions and concerns, there are still too many controversies about the availability, accessibility, reliability and credibility of the voters' roll - this is a major concern because an election is a voters' roll – and the fact that ZEC is doing precious little to address these and other related issues legally, transparently, efficiently and effectively; dents the country’s readiness to hold free, fair and credible elections.
PG: Do you think the Mnangagwa administration has done enough to be welcomed back into the Commonwealth?
JM: The issue is not about what the government has done or not done; nor is it about the headline news of the day.
Zimbabwe’s need to re-join the Commonwealth is a sovereign matter about the country’s national interest.
The material conditions that led Zimbabwe to withdraw from the Commonwealth in 2003 have radically changed to warrant a return in the national interest.
This fact is self-evident not only to Zimbabwe as a sovereign state, but also to the Commonwealth itself and to Britain: it’s in the mutual interests of the three parties.
In fact, Zimbabwe’s return to Commonwealth — which is now a matter of when rather than whether — will mark the normalisation of relations between Zimbabwe and the UK.