ZANU-PF Political Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere has claimed that further exposés about under fire Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo are ill-conceived and damaging the ruling party. Prof Moyo and his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa are accused of swindling the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) of close to half a million dollars to fund party and personal programmes.
How can tackling corruption destroy Zanu-PF?
Ironically, Prof Moyo is on record saying all leaders accused of corruption should carry their crosses and not claim that allegations against them damage the party.
In April 2014, in apparent reference to then Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman Temba Mliswa who had claimed that media exposés on the “extortionate” demands he made to businessman Mr Conrad “Billy” Rautenbach were politically-motivated, Prof Moyo said: “This is the ultimate corrupt act to say you abuse public funds, you are caught with your hands in the till, it is published and then you say it is destroying the party.
“That is the worst expression of corruption. “You want us to keep quiet under the pretext that what you did that is unlawful was for your party and that if it comes out — just because you belong to that political party — you will go down with the political party. That doesn’t make sense.
“That is a primitive understanding of things. It is you and you alone, carry your cross. It has nothing to do with the party.” He went on: “What you are doing is not in the constitution of the party, not in the regulations of the party, not in the policies of the party. It is actually against the party. You were stealing alone.
“If we keep quiet about it and then the public discovers outside the media, they will say this guy was stealing for the party. They will say this party is corrupt and all they are talking about is some guy.”
In the Zimdef case, Prof Moyo has admitted to using his discretion to divert Zimdef funds meant to benefit students and colleges towards party programmes and to buy bicycles for traditional leaders in his Tsholotsho constituency in Matabeleland North.
Addressing journalists at a Press conference to mark International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in Harare last week, Cde Kasukuwere — who is himself embroiled in a residential stands scandal — said further exposure of Minister Moyo could damage Zanu-PF, which he said was already dealing with the matter internally.
Prof Moyo has likened his actions to those of Robin Hood. Robin Hood is a legendary outlaw in British folklore who stole from the rich to give to the poor.
Said Cde Kasukuwere last week; “If one has to chase a rat and ends up burning a house, we then start wondering what is the objective? Issues to do with the party must be handled with the utmost discipline, respect that is expected of all of us and I think our leader the President has given us direction.
“He set up a committee to look into various matters, to look into the operations of some of these institutions that are mentioned, in particular the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission. We expect that team to do its work.” He said there appeared to be an agenda against Prof Moyo.
“What concerns us is that it appears there is a bigger agenda than dealing with the issue (of corruption). What we are not going to accept is anything that ultimately damages the party. The party is a sacred institution with all of us in it.”
Prof Moyo tweeted recently that those accusing him of fraud were pushing a factional agenda in the party and that they were tribalists trying to keep Matabeleland marginalised. Cde Kasukuwere, who is also Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, said the fraud allegations against Prof Moyo were damaging Zanu-PF.
He accused Zacc of working against the party. “We as the party are seized with the matter. We want it to be handled in that manner,” he said. Prof Moyo and Gandawa are accused of abusing almost $400 000 of Zimdef money to fund programmes of their choice without authority.
Zacc is treating this as an act of fraud and has instituted an investigation of the two. Both Moyo and Gandawa deny any wrongdoing. Zacc investigations committee chair Commissioner Goodson Nguni last week told a media briefing in Harare that there was nothing personal against Prof Moyo.
Cde Kasukuwere was also quoted telling a rally in Norton last Thursday that Prof Moyo acted in the interest of the party, the President and the nation. He said those investigating him for corruption were sell-outs.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Wednesday said no one was above the law or immune to prosecution for criminal conduct. He said everyone, including Cabinet ministers and Vice Presidents, could be prosecuted if there were reasonable grounds to suspect they had committed a crime.
He said in terms of the Constitution, only the President was immune to criminal prosecution and that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission was a State arm mandated with investigating and dealing with cases of corruption.
VP Mnangagwa said this in the National Assembly while responding to questions from Members of Parliament who quizzed him on why then Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko was defending Prof Moyo, and wanted to know whether Cabinet ministers were immune from prosecution.