Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo has declared war on Zimbabwe Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, targeting him for legal action allegedly for “illegally directing” his arrest on allegations of corruption by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), laying bare the factional battles in Zanu PF.
In a seven-page statement yesterday, Moyo warned he would be approaching the court soon to challenge Mnangagwa’s conduct in his alleged botched bid to have him arrested.
The minister claimed his “persecution” by Zacc was driven by Mnangagwa “to secure that the political ends currently being pursued by the Vice-President are advanced in relation to what has become public knowledge about the desire to secure a front foot in succession politics”.
Moyo also targeted Information minister Christopher Mushowe, permanent secretary in the Information ministry, George Charamba, Zacc commissioner, Goodson Nguni, acting National Prosecutor-General, Ray Goba, The Herald Editor, Caesar Zvayi, Sunday Mail Editor, Mabasa Sasa and Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) chief executive officer, Pikirayi Deketeke, among others for legal action.
Zimpapers board chairperson, Delma Lupepe, Sunday News Editor, Limukani Ncube, acting Chronicle Editor, Innocent Madonko, Zimpapers and all the reporters who wrote stories that allegedly offended Moyo would also not be spared.
Moyo said he would sue Mnangagwa for his role in meetings with Zacc officials and the NPA, where he allegedly claimed President Robert Mugabe had sanctioned the minister’s arrest.
Both Zacc and the NPA, Moyo said, were independent organisations that should work autonomously without political manipulation by the likes of Mnangagwa, whom he accused of capturing State institutions to advance his political factional agenda.
“On their own admission, as subsequently confirmed by Mnangagwa, Zacc, in circumstances that are unclear, met with Mnangagwa at least twice to discuss allegations that Zacc was putting together in relation to me,” Moyo said.
“After these meetings, with the Vice-President, Commissioner Goodson Nguni claimed to various persons that the Vice-President communicated to them that my arrest had been cleared when, in fact, it was not true.”
Moyo said Nguni went to search Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund offices without the police accompanying him, as is required by the law, laying bare his interest in the matter.
He said Zacc was submitting itself to Mnangagwa’s “political machinery”, diverting from its constitutional duty of despatching its duties independently.
“It is clear from Zacc’s own records that the decision to effect my arrest was taken at the Vice-President’s office and subsequently rubber-stamped by all the commissioners. It must follow that this having occurred, the decisions and actions of the VP and Zacc are open to challenge and are unlawful.”
Moyo added: “ I must also express my disgust and dismay at the phenomenon and animal called State capture in as far as it relates to an organ of State such as Zacc abdicating its legal duty and surrendering it to a political and factional cause.
“The scourge of institutions of State being captured, and being used as willing weapons to bludgeon persons holding a divergent view on political discourse, is unacceptable. This cannot go unchallenged.
“The events manifest at Zacc in the past few weeks in relation to me, are a culmination of a calculated political strategy to use the so-called ‘anti-corruption’ (drive) as a political tool.
“While I abhor corruption, and have done everything to prevent the occurring of corrupt activities, it is totally unacceptable for State institutions such as Zacc to become a political appendage of the political strategy of a faction.”
He said the relationship between Mnangagwa and Nguni, whom he claims has hijacked Zacc, was no secret.
Moyo alleged this was the reason why Mnangagwa approved Nguni’s appointment as Zacc commissioner despite being unqualified because of a criminal conviction in South Africa.
He said Mnangagwa, as the Justice minister, also approved the appointment of Goba as the acting Prosecutor-General, in spite of him having a criminal record in Namibia, where he was reportedly banished from practising law.
“These patently unlawful appointments are not by accident, but are intended to capture State institutions, and further a factional political cause by the use of individuals, who are not fit and proper persons as willing weapons against perceived political opponents. In view of these matters, I am taking legal action against the NPA,” Moyo said.
He also took aim at the alleged secondment of undesirable persons to the NPA from other government agencies, in violation of Section 261(3) of the Constitution.
“The conduct of the NPA, by taking part in the investigations and taking part in meetings of a factional political nature and encouraging and directing Zacc officers to exercise arresting powers, which they do not have, completely undermines the independence of the NPA in relation to allegations against me.”
Moyo, who is facing allegations of defrauding Zimdef of over $450 000, has denied he had done anything illegal to warrant arrest.
He said since the Tsholotsho Declaration in 2005, he took a decision in 2009, when he was readmitted into the party, to “render full support, allegiance and loyalty” to Mugabe.
“In light of the foregoing, the advice I have on hand is that these matters require urgent and comprehensive legal attention, which I will be taking shortly,” he said.
Moyo has already sued Zimpapers for $4 million in a related case.