Hardly 24 hours after Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo issued a statement disputing reports that there was a serious rift between President Robert Mugabe and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the fight between the party’s two top leaders became evident at the Harare International Airport.
Mugabe on Thursday publicly admonished Mnangagwa for claiming that he was poisoned.
First lady Grace Mugabe took a dig at the vice-president and claimed there were people threatening a coup if they did not have their way in Mugabe’s succession tussle.
Another big story of the week was Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s scathing statement where he accused his counterpart of lying about the alleged poisoning.
Our senior reporter, Charles Laiton (CL) spoke to Khaya-Moyo (SKM) to find out what he had to say about the latest developments in the ruling party. As expected, the Zanu PF spokesperson gave very little away.
CL: Cde Khaya-Moyo, you are on record saying the relationship between Mugabe and Mnangagwa is very good. Given the events of last week at the Harare International Airport, do you stand by your words?
SKM: what is happening now?
CL: The issues concerning the alleged poisoning and other charges against Mnangagwa?
SKM: I don’t know whether I mentioned it myself. Why don’t you speak to Cde Mnangagwa himself. I am saying I have not been informed otherwise.
CL: Just recently you issued a statement warning the private media against writing “falsehoods” about Zanu PF. What were you referring to in particular?
SKM: I didn’t warn the private media as such, but I think you know what the headlines said. There is no split in Zanu PF, which the paper was alleging.
It was saying Zanu PF is heading for a split. I do not know what spilt was being talked about. There is no such split in Zanu PF.
CL: Given what is happening now in Zanu PF, is the party likely to consider having a special congress in order to resolve the squabbles?
SKM: Why special congress? We have got our national people’s conference coming up in December as usual.
We will have it in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province. We have these conferences every year and everything will be done there as usual.
CL: What is the party’s position regarding the statement by first lady Grace Mugabe where she said there are some people who wanted to kill the first family?
SKM: I have no comment myself. Why don’t you speak to the spokesperson of the first family?
She did not talk about the party and she never did. It will be misleading if that is what is being understood to have been said.
She never said the party wants to. Why would the party do that anyhow?
CL: I thought the party would have a position concerning her statements, her being the women’s leader?
SKM: If it was about the party I would speak, but in this instance there is no party involved.
One thing I want to say openly is that I think it’s fair, as you always say journalism is a noble profession.
There is an issue of ethics but it appears that you [journalists]don’t subscribe to that. Why are you not subscribing to that?
CL: Is that so Cde Moyo, and why are you saying that?
SKM: Everything relating to Zanu PF is not balanced, there are a lot of falsehoods and you know that.
CL: If you say everything, are you suggesting that there is not even something that is being written about Zanu PF that is true?
SKM: Not about Zanu PF. I think it’s only fair for us to stick to ethics. Let us not live on falsehoods, it’s not good for us.
CL: Can you be specific. what issues do you really say are not reported correctly?
SKM: I would wonder what issues you people have written which are true about Zanu PF and its leadership, hardly any I believe.
Let us promote unity amongst us as a people and as Zimbabweans, let’s develop our country as a people. Nobody will develop our country for us except ourselves.
You cannot promote unity, peace and development when you always write negative things about each other.
CL: What can you say regarding the relationship between the two vice-presidents, Mnangagwa and his counterpart Phelekezela Mphoko, given the latest developments?
SKM: I can’t comment on the vice presidents. They are there, why don’t you speak to them?
CL: Of course, Cde Khaya-Moyo I would but they belong to the same party, which is Zanu PF.
SKM: No, they are human beings and they are there. You can really speak to them, I am sure that would be very proper.