Analysts slate Moyo over Command Agric attacks Prof Moyo

Prof Moyo

Farirai Machivenyika:Senior Reporter

HIGHER and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has been accused of suffering from opposition demons in the wake of his spirited attacks on Government’s Command Agriculture programme that experts say will restore the country’s food self-sufficiency.The analysts said it was surprising that Prof Moyo, a Politburo member and Cabinet minister, was being acerbic about the success of one of the pillars of Zim-Asset ahead of election 2018, raising questions about his motivation.

The highly-subscribed Command Agriculture programme was adopted by Cabinet last year, and President Mugabe assigned Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to oversee the programme.

The analysts spoke in the wake of a spate of messages by Prof Moyo on his Twitter handle, @ProfJNMoyo, lampooning the programme that is expected to run for the next two years as part of import-substitution and to boost the country’s food production levels.

Most farmers countrywide are expecting a bumper harvest following government's introduction of command agriculture. Picture by John Manzongo

Most farmers countrywide are expecting a bumper harvest following government’s introduction of command agriculture. Picture by John Manzongo

In a tweet on March 6 following a story published in The Herald Prof Moyo wrote on his Twitter handle: “Report by @Herald Zimbabwe that “Command Agric exceeds target” is at best premature & at worst needlessly false!”

He went on to post on March 10 that “1/2: Maize is on 1,3m ha: 1,1m is Presidential Input Scheme; 153,102.60ha is Command Agriculture & the rest private!”

While figures from the Ministry of Agriculture were not readily available, Vice President Mnangagwa recently indicated that the programme was set to exceed set targets.

VP Mnangagwa

VP Mnangagwa

Prof Moyo on the same date, March 6, added “2/2: Command Agriculture targeted 400 000ha but contracted 247,035ha of which 191,124ha (77 percent) were tilled & 153,102.60ha (61 percent) were planted on!”

On March 11, he also wrote that, “Command is a tried & tested military concept. It is also a great in programming. But in civil matters command is an oxymoron & non starter!”

Referring to last week’s story carried by The Sunday Mail he added: “After merchants of Command Agriculture poured $500 (million) to plant maize on 153,102.60ha, they now want a Command Economy!”

In another tweet Prof Moyo wrote: “Better listen to agro-economists on how $500 (million) was commandeered to plant maize on just 153,102.60ha when the $500 (million) was meant for 400 000ha!”

He added: “It’s about integrity. People won’t swallow fake command data just like that. The 2016/17 Presidential Input Scheme has been a huge success! I still prefer policy over commandism & it’s not about semantics but about science. Remember, #words Matter!

“There’s an important difference between “command” & “policy” & the latter is better than the former; in the modern scheme of things!”

Namibia based analyst Mr Tafadzwa Mugwadi, said Prof Moyo could still be suffering from “opposition syndrome,” having spent time in opposition politics.

“It is regrettable that Prof Moyo in all his wisdom, real or imagined, fails to understand basic aspects of team work. One would be pardoned to suggest that he could still be possessed by pro-opposition demons, having spent more time in the opposition than with the ruling party, Zanu-pf.

‘‘However, given such penchant for indiscipline, Zanu-pf has got to show that it has an unshakeable and steadfast system of rules by taking decisive action against those promoting internal discord and undermining others.

Professor Jonathan Moyo

Professor Jonathan Moyo

“If one reads the Twitter rants coupled with an interview that he gave to The Standard, one gets shocked to learn that Prof Moyo is still a member of the party and a Cabinet Minister.

“The lack of decisive action against Prof Moyo will continue to sow seeds of division in the party as there is a feeling that some members are more equal than others.

“Since the beginning of the millennium, this is the first time Zimbabwe is going to achieve food self-sufficiency, which we should all cherish and celebrate, perhaps and as a party brag about going into the elections. Surprisingly, Prof Moyo sees nothing good about it,” Mr Mugwadi said.

Lawyer Mr Tendai Toto described Prof Moyo’s criticism as counterproductive saying it called for action to be taken as he could have infringed on Cabinet rules on Zanu-pf’s regulations.


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