ZANU-PF Women’s League secretary Cde Grace Mugabe yesterday branded War Veterans Minister Chris Mutsvangwa “despicable” for claiming that Higher Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo’s father was in fact the late nationalist, Ndabaningi Sithole. Without naming him, but giving away enough for her audience at a rally inChiweshe, Mashonaland Central, to know who she was referring to, Cde Mugabe said Cde Mutsvangwa thought of himself as a super war veteran who is above everyone else.
During a very public verbal war with Prof Moyo over the last month, Cde Mutsvangwa first claimed the Tsholotsho North MP was Sithole’s nephew, and later revised his story to say he was in fact Sithole’s biological son.
With Prof Moyo sitting in the front row, the First Lady said: “There’s nothing as despicable as insulting people by questioning their paternity. It’s not nice at all. What if we told you that the children you think are yours aren’t really yours?”
The First Lady said there had been a push in the party to sully Prof Moyo’s name so much so when she spoke at the Zanu-PF headquarters last Wednesday urging leaders not to insult each other, an official newspaper had reported the next day that she had warned Prof Moyo to stop abusing fellow Zanu-PF officials on social media where he is active on Twitter (@ProfJNMoyo).
“Jonathan, were you just shouting at people without provocation? Are you mad?” the First Lady said, turning to Prof Moyo. “Jonathan isn’t crazy that he would just start shouting at people. Such an intelligent person can’t be crazy. He shouts at those who shout at him.
“You then begin to see who’s controlling the paper. Some journalists are taking money to write these things.”
A push to ban officials from using social media came to grief at the Politburo last Wednesday after Prof Moyo and other officials said it was not just social media open to abuse but “all forms of media”, including newspapers.
Prof Moyo joined Twitter on February 9 last year after being appointed Zanu-PF’s secretary for science and technology. In the 12 months, he has gained nearly 46,000 followers — a phenomenal feat. Zimbabwe’s most followed Twitter accounts took longer to rack up such numbers — David Coltart’s current 50,000 were built up since December 2008, Trevor Ncube’s 46,000 since March 2009, Kirsty Coventry’s 41,000 since July 2010 and Saviour Kasukuwere’s 38,000 since April 2010.
Introducing Prof Moyo at the rally in Chiweshe yesterday, Cde Kasukuwere — who is Zanu-PF’s national commissar — joked: “Twitter is his job. It’s part of his role as technology minister. We’ve some people who want to stop the man from going to work.”