Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo claimed in an interview with a local radio station that taunts on social media by fellow Zanu PF members believed to be supporters of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa traumatised him.
Moyo made the revelations in the interview with ZiFM, which was pulled off air under a cloud but was leaked to The Standard last week.
The former Information minister who is locked in a fierce war of words with Mnangagwa’s followers, said his tormentors had been sending him “photo-shopped” images of either himself or family members being eaten by crocodiles.
He said the taunts worsened after his daughter Zanele was found dead in South Africa last year.
Zanele, a University of Cape Town international relations student, died under mysterious circumstances in her apartment.
Moyo’s interview was supposed to be a response to another one by President Robert Mugabe’s beleaguered spokesperson George Charamba, who accused the minister and members of the G40 faction of plotting against Mugabe.
Moyo said most of the taunting was done on micro-blogging site Twitter.
“One of the most painful and traumatic experience I am having these days and I have been having for quite some time for over a year but it became pronounced when I lost my daughter in October last year,” he said.
“I have people, some with names, who have been sending me tweets with crocodiles either eating members of my family or eating me and came up with stuff that my daughter was a victim of crocodiles and that the reason she died was because I was playing with crocodiles. I got very angry.”
Moyo said he was not the one who started the “war” about crocodiles on Twitter. He said a group of people that identified themselves as Team Lacoste started provoking him.
In the interview, Moyo also speaks about accusations that he ran away from the war to study in the United States.
War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa has been saying the outspoken academic cannot be allowed to call the shots in Zanu PF because he fled the war.
“I did not go alone to the school they say I went to. It is Zanu PF and I was working at the Zanu PF office in New York with the late Tirivavi Kangai who was the representative and Shirihuru, the late also, I was manning the office myself,” Moyo said.
“That is when I got my scholarship from the African American Institute and now defunct organ of the United Nations. For one to qualify, you had to be recommended by a liberation movement, I was sent by Zanu PF to school.
“I was commissar for a Zanu PF branch in Southern California myself and the chairman is still around, who I met in Mgagao, you should look for him.”
He said Charamba’s interview with ZiFM was reckless as he pretended to be speaking on behalf of Mugabe.
“There was a presumption that he had been sent by the president to say what he said and what he said clearly referred to ministers and politburo members, it contained warnings to these unnamed people and it was presented in the most reckless manner,” Moyo said.
He said there was “inexplicable anger and emotion targeted at individuals as if they had snatched his girlfriend or owed him some money they had not paid.”
Moyo insisted that the G40 faction believed to be backing First Lady Grace Mugabe was a creation of the media. He also attacked Charamba for his writings in the State-controlled media where he once called for an open debate on Mugabe’s succession. ZiFM has denied allegations that the interview was pulled out for political reasons.