The Zimbabwe government is exerting pressure on Kenyan authorities to silence self-exiled former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who is throwing tantrums at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration using microblogging site, Twitter.
The sharp-tongued politician has been a pain in the backside for Mnangagwa’s government ever since he skipped the country last November to escape being apprehended by the army.
This was after the military stormed out of the barracks last November to deal with ‘criminals’ around former president Robert Mugabe, who ended up resigning to stymie an impeachment motion that had been set off in Parliament.
Among the ‘criminals’, Moyo had the biggest prize on his head, and is currently under investigation for allegedly siphoning over $400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef).
Even though he has found refuge among his in-laws in Kenya, Moyo has continued to put his social media skills to use by insulting Mnangagwa’s administration through ferocious tweets.
Media reports indicate that Zimbabwe government functionaries are now leaning heavily on Kenyan authorities to rein in the former Higher Education minister seen as the brains behind Mugabe and his pesky wife, Grace’s shenanigans.
Contacted for comment on Tuesday, Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba professed ignorance over the matter, saying it was quite possible that the action could have been taken by the security ministries without his knowledge.
“When it comes to security matters it is not about us; the ministry of Home Affairs would probably know so you can get help from there,” Charamba said.
Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu referred questions to national police spokesperson Charity Charamba, saying “this is an operational issue”.
The national police spokesperson did not return calls to her mobile.
Zimbabwe and Kenya enjoy good bilateral relations and it is on the basis of these cordial ties that Harare is hoping to convince Nairobi to muzzle the former Zanu PF propagandist, whose tweets are making headlines in the private media.
Sources said there are fears that Moyo could violate the Official Secrets Act by disclosing sensitive information he may have accessed during his time in government if allowed to continue spitting venom while holed up in Kenya, which may provide fodder to the opposition.
Mnangagwa, whose name will appear on the ballot as Zanu PF’s presidential candidate for the first time in his political career spanning over six decades, is desperate to win the elections to be held before the end of July to prove to critics that he is a viable candidate.
It is being argued by the Zimbabwean authorities that their counterparts should not allow Moyo to undermine a sister liberation war movement without consequence.
Harare is impressing on its counterparts that there are Kenyan immigrants in Zimbabwe whom it is now allowing to voice their dislike for Uhuru Kenyatta’s government because of the camaraderie between them.
Moyo is one of the few allies of Mugabe who are still defending the fallen dictator.
Soon after Mugabe’s ouster, Moyo wrote in November last year that, “the presumption that an old violent & looting dog can practice new tricks is nothing but a fallacy”.
He continued: “Once a 1980s military Gukurahundist, always a Gukurahundist& once a Chiadzwa diamond looter, always a looter!
In one of his tweets, he narrated how he was raided during the crack of dawn by security forces as they went for ‘criminals’ around Mugabe.
He also attacked the then Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Constantino Chiwenga saying “the tragedy of the gun in Zim is that it’s controlled by the same 1980s Gukurahundists who’ve committed atrocities before and gotten away with it; and who are thus prone to repeat the atrocities ad infinitum unless & until the people take control of the gun!
Since then Moyo has not relented churning out a series of tweets slamming Mnangagwa and his government at every turn.
Mnangagwa is often accused of being behind the murder of over 20000 civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the mid-1980s when he was Security minister.
Meanwhile, towards the end of last year, government sent on forced leave Zimdef’s top executives to pave way for a forensic audit to be facilitated by the Auditor-General.
The audit is likely to provide ammunition to those who are hotly in pursuit of Moyo to bring him back to Zimbabwe so he could have his day in court.
The central bank has already ordered banks to freeze accounts belonging to him and former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere to enable government to look into their finances.
Moyo, former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and ex-Public Service minister, Patrick Zhuwao are linked to the Generation 40 faction of the ruling party, which wanted former first lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her 93-year-old husband, Robert Mugabe, whose government was toppled in a military coup.