MY TURN WITH TICHAONA ZINDOGA
“Moyo scoffs at ‘Command Ugly-Culture’.”
That was a headline in one of the country’s daily newspapers on Monday. The paper was referring to statements attributed to Zanu-PF Politburo member and Cabinet minister Professor Jonathan Moyo on his Twitter account over the weekend.
Prof Moyo wrote: “VP Mnangagwa’s Command Ugly-Culture, disguised as Command Agriculture, is a corruption of a noble objective and is, thus, totally unacceptable!”
He emphasised: “The noble objectives of Command Agriculture, first enunciated by Dr Grace Mugabe, have been corrupted by VP Mnangagwa into an Ugly-Culture!”
For any ordinary person there are several issues in this latest attack of the Government programme by a senior ruling party official and minister:
Prof Moyo does not take the pain to hide his contempt for the programme which he has given a new derogatory nomenclature which would be handy for any opposition politician seeking to denigrate Government policies and programmes and, by extension, undermine the President himself, who is the leader of the same.
Before we examine further the text of these tweets and their rather obvious and sinister meanings, it may be pointed out that Prof Moyo’s unvarnished disdain came just hours after President Mugabe had praised the programme during his latest Youth Interface rally in Mutare last Friday.
Command Agriculture has lately become a dominant theme at President Mugabe’s rallies and also constitutes what is turning out to be a strong political and policy message ahead of elections in 2018.
The callousness with which Prof Moyo pours scorn on a Government programme, which should leave any opposition politician green with envy, is truly shocking.
Run it in your head again!
This does not only impugn the Government programme.
Prof Moyo’s withering contempt of the programme is tantamount to spitting on the land, itself a sacred, spiritual and economic commodity.
Zimbabwe has massive attachment to agriculture owing to the historical, spiritual and economic value of the land.
When Prof Moyo, probably beating his haughty chest, stumbles upon a clever creation like “Ugly-Culture”, which we imagine is now proudly taking possession as his intellectual property, he is repudiating a lot of things in a most surprising manner that may suggest something so dark and rotten that it is now stinking all over the place.
There is something ugly about Prof Moyo’s head (no pun intended) – which needs examining as a matter of urgency and in the interest of the ruling party and general security of the country.
In fact, Prof Moyo has totally lost his head!
Let’s look at the proper context.
It is now a notorious fact that the Prof has a “beef” with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa which we hear stems from a political misadventure some time in 2004 set in a place called Dinyane in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, where the former tried to play kingmaker of some sort.
VP Mnangagwa would be the ostensible beneficiary of the plot.
When the plan was foiled there was a massive and expected fallout and a falling out between the two.
At least that is the public record.
On the back of this, a personal enmity, we do not know if it’s mutual, has grown and Prof Moyo has taken every turn and opportunity to deride and undermine VP Mnangagwa and this has crystallised into what is now generally cast as factionalism putting a group called Generation 40, another wonderful nomenclature from the Professor himself, and the Lacoste faction. Lacoste is a French fashion label depicting an alligator, being a play on the “Crocodile” moniker given to the VP.
But not many people would really know the depth of the differences between the two men.
Many a party supporter actually marvel at the divisions and acrimony that stems from such narrow beginnings as to corrode, potentially, the fabric of the organisation and probably the State.
What is curious though is that Prof Moyo appears all too willing to throw all caution to the wind.
He does not even mince his words and attacks VP Mnangagwa as corrupt and having a corrupting influence on a Government programme with the effect of making it ugly. To his credit, the VP has not stooped to the low level of responding to a character evidently desperate for a public spat.
A further examination will suffice.
Prof Moyo actually thinks the whole of Zanu-PF and whole of Government is “ugly” and “corrupted” by the presence of VP Mnangagwa as Vice President at party and Government level.
The imputation is clear to a reader of ordinary intelligence.
What is also clear is that Prof Moyo wants us to believe it.
We wonder if many people do, but the disdain he has shown over the past few years, including defying President Mugabe’s counsel on discussing party issues publicly and to desist from denigrating other members is quite remarkable.
Luckily for him nothing has happened to him.
He is special, the Professor; untouchable.
And he has grown big headed (pun intended). But issues such as having a big head (the correct word, rather, is ego) may go deeper to more personal levels than just political.
We are more interested in the political element.
Prof Moyo is self-righteous in his manner and in particular his attacks on VP Mnangagwa.
He accuses him of being a “successionist” (no, this one is not his creation) seeking to succeed President Mugabe.
He won’t support him in that bid.
Refer to an interview he had with a local paper, “Why I won’t support Mnangagwa: Moyo” (The Standard, January 22, 2017).
He tells the paper, inter alia, that: “It is not in my power to block anyone’s path or destiny. But because this issue keeps coming up as if Zanu-PF members have a constitutional or divine duty to support VP Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions, let me make it clear that I don’t and I will not support VP Mnangagwa for the presidency.”
He also emphasises that, “. . . it would be difficult and even impossible for me to support VP Mnangagwa for the presidency given the well-documented cruel history of his abuse of the various public positions he has held to cause harm, misery and worse to people who disagreed with him or did not associate with his politics in our country’s dark past”.
Prof Moyo goes to admirable lengths in his argument that there is no vacancy at State House, which some of us agree with totally, but it may be deceptive as far as he thinks that this is to spite VP Mnangagwa.
Whatever beef the two had is theirs to solve, if ever.
What becomes unfortunate is when such unwarranted attacks have the effect of undermining the work and effect of Government programmes.
A rather curious incident when VP Mnangagwa had to confront Prof Moyo over his badmouthing of the Command Agriculture programme, of which he is a beneficiary (“Moyo admits benefiting from Command Agric”, The Herald March 17, 2017).
We imagine in other times and places this could have resulted in blows being exchanged and thank God for our mature politicians.
But the intervention has not stopped Prof Moyo from criticising the Government programme because he is opposed to his boss in both party and Government being a part of it.
The acrimony is that deep, and worrying.