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Mnangagwa tightens firm chokehold on Jonathan Moyo under new siege

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FORMER cabinet minister, MP and Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo, who escaped by death by a whisker when the army stormed his home and that of a friend guns blazing during the 2017 military coup, is reeling under an intensifying new siege from President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

OWEN GAGARE

Having unleashed a crack multiple agency security unit to hunt down Moyo in Kenya where he fled to at the height of the coup, Mnangagwa is now tightening his chokehold on Moyo through a series of measures calculated to destroy him.

Official sources say Moyo is being denied his pension which accrued from his public service as minister between 2000 and 2005, and again from 2013 and 2017.

While Moyo’s former allies within Zanu PF’s G40 faction are getting their pensions under the Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits (services and facilities for spouses of former presidents) and the Parliamentary Pensions Act, Mnangagwa has blocked his benefits.

The Act is for pensions for vice-presidents, ministers, deputy ministers and MPs, as well as certain office-bearers of parliament and gratuity for a former prime minister.

Not only that, government is also trying to seize Moyo’s Greystone Park home in Harare over the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) corruption allegations. “They want to seize his property, the house, over the Zimdef case, which is clearly unlawful,” an official source said. “He is under renewed siege.”

Zimbabwe’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been trying to nail Moyo. Previously it wrote to Kenya requesting Moyo’s extradition on corruption allegations linked to accusations that he and four others had allegedly misappropriated U$244 575 from the Zimdef.

Only last week a Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) team visited Moyo’s former personal assistant in Harare Mai Mukabeta trying to make her sign an affidavit to nail Moyo and his co-accused.

While Zacc and the NPA have renewed their bid to get Moyo, documents show that they are on a wild goose chase as their first attempt to arrest Moyo and put him on remand in November 2016 was dismissed by the magistrate’s court.

The court then ruled: “What is therefore left to determine is whether the purported undertaking by the Zacc officer is legally binding or can be accorded at law the same legal weight with a summon or warning which would amount to a breach and subsequently justifies the issuance of a warrant of arrest. The answer is a simple no. The state is wrong both in fact and at law in trying to apply for a warrant of arrest where there is no legal basis to do so.

“In view of that, it is my finding that CRB 14177/16 in reference to the accused Jonathan Moyo was erroneously opened.”

An official source involved in the case said: “When Moyo fled Zimbabwe during the coup in November 2017, there was no criminal case or any charges pending against him in any court of law in this country. The case concerning Moyo’s donation of motorcycles to Tsholotsho traditional leaders in 2016 which Zacc is now pursuing was filed after he had fled.”

Mnangagwa tried in vain recently to secure President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cooperation with extradition through a special arrangement even though Harare and Nairobi have no extradition treaty.

Moyo is living in fear in Kenya under a United Nations’ Refugee Convention.

Apart from his pension, Moyo has also lost the car he was issued with under the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, a multi-partisan panel launched in January 2009 following Zimbabwe’s power-sharing agreement between the ruling Zanu PF and the two main opposition MDC formations.

“The vehicle, a Ford Ranger, was given to Moyo in 2011, but it was seized by Zacc and Military Intelligence officers. Other Jomic members still have their vehicles.”

Government is also struggling to grab Moyo’s Patterson Farm in Mazowe. The case has been in the courts.

Other G40 members are also in the same situation. The Mugabe family is facing seizures of its numerous farms accumulate during the late former president Robert Mugabe’s 37-year reign which ended in a coup in 2017.

Farms are being used as an instrument of political patronage, coercion and control to ensure loyalty or punish disloyalty.

“There are many incidents in which Moyo has been pressure and harassed by government and state security agents. One incident involved his youngest daughter’s encounter with Central Intelligence Organisation agents at RGM International Airport. They intercepted her travelling as an unaccompanied minor and took her papers to see her details and those of her father, including home address in Kenya and other things. Moyo protested to Kenyan Airways for allowing that,” a source said.

“Of course, there is the infamous threat by Mnangagwa to separate his head from his shoulders at the politburo meeting in July 2017. The late Agriculture minister Perence Shiri illegally settled soldiers at his family farm in Mazowe. Barclos Majuru who was recently ordered to vacate the farm by the Supreme Court is one of the soldiers illegally and spitefully settled there by Shiri.

“In 2019, 2020 and 2021 the CIO sent  counterintelligence officers to his farm where they harassed workers, asking them about his whereabouts and claiming to be looking for weapons they alleged were cached at the farm. 

“On 2 July 2020, a team with Zacc officials, military intelligence and police seized his Ford Ranger. The truck was seized from a garage where it was being repaired. No explanation was given for the seizure of the truck by an inter-agency security team. 

“The Office of the President and cabinet has denied Moyo his pension for his 17 years as an MP and seven years in government as a cabinet minister.

“Parliament through the Clerk and Speaker have seized and withheld all his correspondence sent to the House of Assembly after 15 November 2017. Any and all correspondence in his name sent to parliament from 15 November 2017 has been forwarded to the CIO by parliament. Efforts to get his correspondence from the clerk have fallen on his deaf ears.

“Besides, the army occupied his house for slightly over two weeks from 15 November 2017. Family members in Zimbabwe could not access it. Apart from being massively damaged by bullets and explosives on 15 November 2017; it was ransacked and property valued at US$500 000 was damaged or stolen.

“In another trumped up charge, government says Moyo used money from the sale of elephants meant to build Tsholotsho Stadium. The truth is the he was not and could not be involved in the sale of even one elephant.

“The sale of elephants was between Campfire, Lodzi Hunters and Tsholotsho Rural District Council. The cost to build a Zifa-approved stadium for premier league football was US$4.9 million.

“Out of 60 elephants that had been approved to contribute towards raising that; only 10 elephants were actually allocated when he was still actively helping the council and Tsholotsho FC, and the proceeds of the sale went to funding the football club whose home games were at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, which meant all they games were away games, thus had a huge weekly bill.

“The elephant money was not enough to sustain the team; and this was made worse by the fact that when Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri was then appointed Environment minister, she ordered Campire to stop the sale of to assist Tsholotsho FC, let alone to contribute to the construction of the stadium. 

“The US$4.9 million  needed to build a multipurpose stadium in Tsholotsho was approved by cabinet, but blocked by Mnangagwa.” 

From fierce clashes in the Zanu PF politburo meetings after a bitter political fallout over a hotly contested leadership succession during the late former president Robert Mugabe’s rule to resorting to guns, explosives and thunderflash amid a coup, and tailing by state security agents in a foreign country, this has been the dramatic story of Mnangagwa and his former ally-turned-rival Moyo.

Former NPA director,  Kumbirai Hodzi, now replaced by his deputy Nelson Mutsonziwa, who was also involved in the matter, previously prepared indictment papers for Moyo’s trial in the High Court, but Kenyatta refused, saying it was a political case linked to Zanu PF power struggles and the coup that had removed Mugabe.

Said a security source recently: “It’s a very serious issue. Remember that our agents previously used the Global Positioning System (GPS) to track his movements via his phone (there is evidence of that); they even texted him his location at a Nairobi hotel where he was having a meeting.

“Second, state agents breached security at his residence in Nairobi and got pictures of him walking into the premises from the CCTV of the complex that he lives in. They then put the photos online to expose and dramatise his security vulnerability.

“Apart from vigorously pushing for his extradition from Kenya, they also sought to put him on the Interpol red list to designate him a wanted man. They further made this public to pressurise him to run away too far from home where he might lose touch or keep quiet to give Mnangagwa relief.

“Meanwhile, the inter-security taskforce has been hunting him down. Further, Hodzi headed another taskforce to Rwanda to find ways from there of bringing him to book. The security taskforce largely comprises CIO, counter-intelligence, military intelligence and police details.

“Beginning this year the security taskforce started exploring ways of seizing Moyo’s properties at home.

Its members from CIO have been harassing chiefs in his rural Tsholotsho home over him since January. They have also sought to politically punish him by other means.”

Recently Zimbabwean pastor Walter Magaya was raided by police looking for arms of war at his Mount Pleasant home in Harare soon after returning from a much-hyped crusade in Kenya as Mnangagwa’s regime feared that he had met with Moyo to plot his downfall in the 2023 elections.

Further, Moyo is also a marked man because he is suspected of closely working with main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa to oust Mnangagwa in 2023. This has seen Mnangagwa’s government pulling out all the stops to get Moyo by all means.

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