A day is a very long time in politics. Yesterday (01 November, 2016), Zimbabwe’s Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education threw the mother of all tantrums. A long scathing plethora of accumulated threats to sue every key influential figure in government. From fellow cabinet member, Minister Chris Mushowe, to President Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba, all the way to Herald Editor Caesar Zvayi.
He called the anti-graft body, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission illegally and unconstitutionally appointed, and functionally at odds with the laws of the land. He slammed the integrity of the head of the organisation, and threatened to expose all other fellows from his party, his government, his politburo.
Moyo boasted that he was appointed by his principal, forgetting that those he said were illegally appointed also functioned at the same pleasure that he enjoyed.
Fast forward a day later, today, (02 November, 2016), Jonathan Moyo handed himself over to the same body he said is illegally appointed and functions to the same tune. The same body he cried, a day before, that had tried to arrest him several times. He did them a favour, tail between legs, and handed himself in.
Of course, that is just part of the story. Moyo did not voluntarily hand himself over. He was ordered by his principal, the President, to submit to the authority. His excuse that the motivation for his investigation was tribal was not bought. To Mugabe, the issue is not about why Moyo was investigated, it is about whether the findings of those accusations are true.
Indeed, for several years, Robert Mugabe has not dealt with corruption, adequately, if at all. But the stakes are different now. His most senior army generals have stated that corruption has become a national security threat.
It was corruption that inspired the #ThisFlag movement, and several other protests. The protests annoyed Mugabe so much, he declared the leader of the campaign Evan Mawarire a persona non-grata in his own country.
But Mugabe is not foolish, neither is his security personnel. In the absence of Evan, the country was rocked by series of violent protests. The worst seen in 2 decades. Mawarire was not the problem. Corruption had / has simply reached intolerable levels.
One thing Mugabe cares about, it is his grip on power. Threaten that, and you are dancing to the tune of the pied piper! You are the mouse, that will plunge into the unforgiving river, and drown.
Bar that, Moyo has been found out by Mugabe. His window dressed plan of pushing for a Grace Mugabe presidency, only to grab power from her after her husband’s demise was found out.
Moyo is a genius, but Mugabe is a bigger genius, if not the best. If the theme of things in a single day is striking, consider the actual faction that Moyo led appeared in pole position to land a fatal blow to Vice President Mnangagwa.
Sarah Mahoka insulted him twice, and in public. Mandi Chimene called him a sitting duck – an idiom meaning a defenseless victim. Moyo himself re-tweeted a picture of himself riding a crocodile comically termed croc-busting. At one point, he even said something to an effect of a croc being a lizard.
Grace Mugabe launched a scathing attack at Mnangagwa, and those perceived to be his supporters. Again, in public.
But slowly, the signs have been there that G40 is a faction at the deep end. Mandi Chimene reversed her statements, and said Mnangagwa was like a father. Mahoka fell out with Grace Mugabe after stealing her money.
Grace Mugabe found out about the ‘young turks’ using her name to extort, swindle, and defend illicit activities. Suddenly she was the target, accused of playing a role in the matters of theft. She retreated into silence, and abandoned ship.
Zhuwao found himself in trouble, having stolen several folds, and created parallel government structures at the Ministry of Indigenisation. He professed his ignorance, apologized for ‘misinterpreting’ the law, and has not been heard from since.
Saviour Kasukuwere himself faces a huge probe. As minister of youths several public funds were plundered. While he was Minister of Environment, ivory stock piles reportedly worth nearly $80 billion on the black market went missing. As housing minister, he entered illicit deals with Walter Magaya. He stole, he stole, he stole. Like his peers.
Just yesterday, during a cabinet meeting, Kasukuwere wept, on his knees in front of Mugabe. Begging him for mercy. He knows what is coming next. He faces arrest. He will soon be ordered to hand himself over to ZACC too. He begged Mugabe for Presidential pardon, to which the answer was that – Mugabe could not pardon him before he had been trialed and convicted.
Think of it, as a small girl, who climbs a ladder to pluck the juiciest orange of the top of the tree. She gets to the top, but falls just quite short. She is close enough to reach the apple, but if she moves any step further, it will cause the ladder to tip over.
As said earlier, a day is a long-time in politics. They could yet turn it around. But it is unlikely.For Generation 40, the Young Turks, these are murky waters. They toppled Mujuru without much trouble, much drama. But they have reached tipping point. They are at the deep end, drowning. They are gone for all money in my view.
Be it tomorrow, or some other day, they will sit on table again. Except, this time, they will not be plotting against anyone, they will be sharing a meal, in a maximum-security prison.
- Prof Changamire is political commentator and analyst. Article appears on Khuluma Afrika – a center for analysis, and commentary.