Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo has been a news attraction since he joined the Constitutional Review Commission in 1999.
The draft constitution that the commission came up with was rejected by the people in a February 2000 referendum but Moyo’s political star began to rise when he was appointed Minister of Information.
His appointment came as no surprise as he had been the chief spin doctor of the commission- a move that surprised most of his colleagues as only a decade earlier Moyo had been one of the fiercest critics of President Robert Mugabe.
Even the United States embassy was worried about his appointment as Information Minister. In a cable to Washington in its analysis of Mugabe’s 2000 cabinet, the embassy in Harare said that it was afraid that no one would be able to silence Moyo whom it described as “ZANU-PF’s splenetic spin doctor”.
“He may shoot down any good economic ideas that Ministers (Simba) Makoni and (Nkosana) Moyo may have and could poison relations with the donor community,” the embassy wrote.
True indeed, Moyo became so powerful that he literary became the country’s de facto Prime Minister.
But his star started fading after the abortive Tsholotsho meeting of 2004 at which a group of ZANU-PF officials tried to resist the imposition of Joice Mujuru as Vice-President.
Moyo, who had no personal mandate as a Mugabe appointee, sought his own mandate and won the Tsholotsho seat as an independent after being expelled from ZANU-PF and once again started raising his profile, especially in Tsholotsho, though outside ZANU-PF.
Moyo was reportedly associated with several moves to form a third force to oppose Mugabe’s continued stay in office and whispers say he contributed to the Morgan is More Movement for Democratic Change campaign in 2008 which saw Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the March 2008 elections.
Jonathan Moyo retained his Tsholotsho seat still as an independent but he rejoined ZANU-PF the following year and was elected to the politburo.
Most people believe Moyo was accepted back into ZANU-PF because he was going to be handy in the 2013 elections which indeed he proved to be as Mugabe himself pointed out.
Moyo was rewarded by being re-appointed Information Minister but his wings were clipped when he was moved to Higher Education but Moyo resorted to twitter which has kept his profile high up to now.
How then does the world, especially the United States, which highly regards and detests him at the same time as he is a product of their education system, view Moyo?
Here is what they said about him in their cables to Washington:
Ed: There are 226 cables on Jonathan Moyo so we have 206 more to go.