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Jonathan Moyo tells Mnangagwa camp to go hang

by Staff reporter
10 Oct 2016 at 12:54hrs | Views

A defiant Higher Education minister, Jonathan Moyo, yesterday came out swinging, belting his Zanu-PF foes and launching a passionate defence of his decision to approve a request for bicycles and three-wheeler motorbikes for community leaders in his Tsholotsho North constituency.

Speaking publicly for the first time about the multiple corruption and fraud charges that are being levelled against him, and which his opponents want him arrested for in the coming days, Moyo insisted to the Daily News that everything he had done was above board.

And in a thinly-disguised attack on Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom he appears to blame for last week's attempt by authorities to arrest him on charges of criminal abuse of office, Moyo also said he was "sick and tired of Gukurahundi politicians and

their mouthpieces poking their dirty noses over what we can and cannot have in our communities as if we ever poke our noses into their communities".

"Enough is enough. When we endeavour to use our elephants to develop the community, as we tried to do with the construction of the Tsholotsho Stadium, they block us.

"They also mock us and accuse us of abuse of office when we give our traditional leaders bicycles to enable them to co-ordinate STEM computers and related development projects in the community," he fumed.

And in another apparent dig at Mnangagwa, who stands accused of having a tarred road constructed to his Kwekwe farm, Moyo added: "Bicycles might be a luxury to those who abuse Zinara funds to build new tarred roads to farms of successionists, but in poor Tsholotsho, where there are no roads of any kind, bicycles can save lives and are as necessary as a box of matches".

The angry Moyo did not stop there.

"This is 2016. Gukurahundi politicians and their mouthpieces should never think for a second that we are afraid of them. Promoting and supporting skills development is best done as a community-based approach that takes into account the peculiarities of the community in question. Tsholotsho is one of the most marginalised and backward communities in Zimbabwe. Supporting skills development there is not just a mechanical matter of getting and distributing STEM computers that end up not being used for a zillion of reasons associated with grinding poverty and underdevelopment.

"It's also about ensuring that the community is part of the STEM computer initiative through direct participation and involvement of community leaders," he said.

"I was happy when the Tsholotsho RDC requested that we adjust a request that had already been approved to give 17 schools in the district 10 computers each to replace some of the computers and to cater for 239 bicycles for village heads and 10 motorcycles for headmen.

"I approved the request because it was not only enabling the community to be part of the STEM computer initiative but was also highlighting the sorry and deplorable state of communication infrastructure in the community which had no roads and no cellular networks. In a community where elephants, lions, leopards and hyenas impose dusk to dawn curfews on villagers, bicycles and motorcycles can make a huge communication difference.

"Those who have a problem with my decision to approve the request from the Tsholotsho Rural District Council for an integrated skills development assistance that included empowering schools, government institutions and traditional leaders can go hang. Fortunately the discretion was mine and not theirs," Moyo thundered.

Narrating the roots of what he called his "persecution", Moyo said he had okayed through the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) which falls under his ministry the acquisition of the 239 bicycles and 10 motorcycles in June this year, at a cost of about $55 000, following the request by the Tsholotsho RDC. He said Zimdef was set up with an objective to "finance the development of critical and highly skilled manpower in Zimbabwe" and gave him as its trustee broad discretion to define what this meant in policy terms.

However, the minister was last week accused by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) of fraud, money laundering and abuse of office after he authorised the financing of Zanu-PF activities with Zimdef funds, including partly sponsoring the Zanu-PF youth league's million man march in Harare.

Meanwhile, the Daily News has been shown copies of letters that are said to have come from the Tsholotsho RDC requesting assistance. In the first of the letters dated October 5, 2015, the council requested 170 computers for secondary schools. But in December, they revised their request in a second letter to the minister, this time asking to "replace computers with bicycles for village heads and motor bikes for headmen".

"Traditional leaders in Tsholotsho North complained that they find it difficult to know what is happening in their areas due to poor communication network and unavailability of transport," wrote the council chairman Alois Ndebele, who has since passed away.

It was then, it is said that Moyo authorised Zimdef to acquire the computers, bicycles and motorcycles which were later handed over by the minister. The computers went to the ZRP, the President's Department, District Adminstrator's office, the Tsholotsho RDC & District Education Officer, among other State institutions - while 55 were given to seven secondary schools in the district.

It was also learnt last night that acting President Phelekezela Mphoko had said that Moyo's threatened arrest was part of a bigger political ploy to destabilise the government.

Mphoko said it was unfortunate that some senior government officials wanted to have Moyo arrested without following proper procedures.

Mphoko claimed further that it appeared that the ploy was to do away with Mugabe's most trusted officials so that some government operations would be adversely affected.

Source - dailynews