PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday accused his former Information minister Jonathan Moyo of plotting a foiled coup to oust government by contacting the army commander, but he wept when quizzed ov
er the issue.
Addressing a campaign rally in Tsholotsho — Moyo’s political backyard — Mugabe told his supporters that his ex-spin-doctor wanted to arrange a military coup to overthrow the government. He said Moyo contacted Zimbabwe National Army commander Lieutenant-General Phillip Sibanda over the issue. However, Moyo cried when Mugabe confronted him with the charge.
“He (Moyo) did terrible things, worse than to accuse and belittle our leadership,” Mugabe said. “He called the army commander, Sibanda. It did happen. He wanted to stage a coup.”
In his first disclosure of the details of the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration which led to Moyo’s downfall, Mugabe said when he tackled his former minister on why he called Sibanda he broke down.
“When we asked him why he called Sibanda he started crying,” Mugabe said. “Inyembezi sibili! (Really shedding tears).”
Efforts to get comment from Moyo last night failed, but he has in the past dismissed coup plot accusations as false and threatened to sue anyone repeating them.
Moyo and other top Zanu PF politicians, grouped in a camp linked to former administration secretary, now legal affairs secretary, Emmerson Mnangagwa, were accused by Mugabe of organising a meeting on November 18 last year at Dinyane School in Tsholotsho to plot a coup against the party leadership.
“He made a mistake by calling the (now suspended six) chairmen to Tsholotsho without approval. Only the politburo and (national party commissar Elliot) Manyika with my consent can do that,” Mugabe said.
Mugabe said he tried to talk to Moyo to give him advice and stop him from running as an independent candidate.
“Together with Mai Mujuru, we called him and spoke to him for one and a half hours. We said to him he was a clever man but he did terrible things. We even told him to go and see (Vice-President Joseph) Msika to get advice but it failed,” Mugabe said.
“I advised him that if he stood as an independent candidate the whole party machinery will descend on him and he will be diminished. Moyo will never, never win Tsholotsho!”