FORMER Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who was also a Zanu PF politburo member, has made startling revelations about the ruling party’s power struggle exposed by the dramatic Tsholotsho episode.
Moyo’s astonishing disclosure
s come at a time when the fight to succeed President Robert Mugabe is intensifying.
The succession battle is threatening to split Zanu PF as senior officials contemplate breaking away to wrest control of state power from outside the party.
In an article this week (See “Opinion” section), Moyo divulges graphic details of the Tsholotsho saga which he says was part of a major effort to reform Zanu PF from within to save it from possible electoral defeat.
Moyo said the Tsholotsho Declaration was part of an intricate web of events around the succession issue which played themselves out in party structures. This included issues like the appointment of a Zanu PF reform committee in 2000 and a succession committee in 2003 to deal with the party’s damaging leadership wrangles.
Attempts by senior Zanu PF officials linked to the Solomon Mujuru faction to force Mugabe to resign at the party’s December 2001 special congress in Victoria Falls and to manoeuvre Joice Mujuru to become party commissar after the death of Border Gezi were also part of the power struggle, he said.
There were also efforts by MPs at a Zanu PF central committee meeting in 2002 to move a motion of no confidence in Mugabe, he added.
Moyo said the Tsholotsho Declaration was crafted by a committee of provincial chairmen and governors under the chairmanship of Zanu PF commissar Elliot Manyika at three meetings.
The first two meetings were held in Harare on August 16 and 23, 2004 and the third one, which endorsed the declaration, in Mugabe’s home area of Zvimba on August 30 ahead of the party’s congress in December.
“The first meeting of Zanu PF provincial chairmen and governors that specifically deliberated on the principles of the Tsholotsho Declaration, chaired by Manyika, took place in Harare on August 16, 2004. A week later on August 23, 2004 another meeting was again held in Harare,” Moyo said.
“During the August 23 meeting seven provinces, except Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Harare, voted for the Tsholotsho principles. A final meeting was held in Zvimba, President Mugabe’s home area, on August 30, 2004. At this crucial meeting the vote for the declaration increased from seven to eight provinces after Chen Chimutengwende, as chairman of Mashonaland Central, added his vote.”
Moyo said from that point on, the then Zanu PF administration secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa was clearly gliding to power until his plan was scuttled by an emergency politburo meeting held on the same day as the Tsholotsho meeting on November 18, 2004. The politburo amended Zanu PF’s constitution “unlawfully” to facilitate Mujuru’s rise, he said.
John Nkomo and Nicholas Goche, he said, sabotaged Mnangagwa’s plan by “misleading” Mugabe about the Tsholotsho principles.
Moyo is suing Nkomo for defamation over the Tsholotsho saga.
Moyo says the Tsholotsho Declaration had four principles, including that the top four Zanu PF positions — president, two vice-presidents and chairman — “should reflect Zimbabwe’s regional diversity and ethnic balance among the four major ethnic groupings, Karanga, Manyika, Zezuru and Ndebele”, among other things.
This is why in terms of the Tsholotsho grand plan, after the 2004 congress, Zanu PF’s top leadership would comprise Mugabe, Mnangagwa, then Women’s League chair Thenjiwe Lesabe and Chinamasa. Moyo said the Tsholotsho Declaration was communicated to Mugabe through party structures.
“There was nothing clandestine or sinister,” he said.
However, things started going wrong for Mnangagwa in September when Mujuru’s camp, outmanoeuvred in the early stages of the power struggle, started moves to outflank the Mnangagwa faction, he said.
Moyo said a week before the Zanu PF Women’s Congress on September 2, 2004, the Mujuru camp convened a meeting in Beatrice with officials from the three provinces which had opposed the Tsholotsho principles on August 23 to “throw spanners at the works”.
Mugabe and his wife Grace played a key role in supporting Mujuru’s candidacy, Moyo said. He said after the death of Vice-President Simon Muzenda there were many succession meetings by both factions in such places as Beatrice, Ruwa, Mazowe, Masvingo, Gweru, Kwekwe and Harare.
Moyo’s narration covers events spanning a period of four years. The 2000 reform committee comprised Nkosana Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa, Olivia Muchena, David Parirenyatwa, the late Moven Mahachi and Moyo but its recommendations on structural reform were rejected.
The succession committee had Solomon Mujuru, Sydney Sekeramayi, Nkomo, Obert Mpofu, Didymus Mutasa, Chinamasa, Stan Mudenge, the late Josiah Tungamirai, Manyika and Goche as its members. But it was disbanded after a Zimbabwe Independent story about its infighting.
The campaign for reform followed the opposition MDC’s near-shock victory in the 2000 general election and gathered pace after the disputed presidential poll in 2002 and calls for a “Final Push” in 2003. Moyo said the “Final Push”, even though it failed, shocked Zanu PF into inter-party talks with the MDC after the stalled dialogue facilitated by South Africa and Nigeria.
He said some Zanu PF MPs, who included former Zvishavane legislator Pearson Mbalekwa, “came within a whisker of moving a no confidence motion against Mugabe at a Zanu PF central committee after the 2002 disputed presidential election in favour of an otherwise reluctant Simba Makoni”.
Moyo said after the November 18, 2004 politburo meeting, Chinamasa, who read out Mnangagwa’s speech in Tsholotsho the same day, six provincial chairmen and other top party officials gathered at the Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo to restrategise. He said they were angry but decided against defying the politburo.
A few days later Mugabe made it clear he wanted Mujuru. This, Moyo said, was after Goche, who controlled the state intelligence service, convinced Mugabe to believe the Tsholotsho Declaration amounted to an attempted palace coup.
Mugabe told him at a meeting on February 17 last year that if Tsholotsho had succeeded he would not have accepted the outcome.