Temba Dube Deputy News Editor
INFORMATION Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo yesterday hit out at what he described as a “fixation” with sitting arrangements at the Zanu-PF politburo on Wednesday during which the First Lady Cde Grace Mugabe sat next to President Robert Mugabe.
Privately-owned newspapers claimed the Zanu-PF secretary for women’s affairs had “raised eyebrows” at what was her maiden politburo meeting by taking a seat next to the Zanu-PF leader, despite her position being lower down in the party hierarchy.
Professor Moyo, responding to a question on his Facebook page, appeared to laugh off the question before going on to state that the First Lady had sat next to the President during the Congress and central committee meetings but no-one had ever become exercised by it.
“Where’s the fixation . . . coming from?” he asked.
“The arrangement, if we can call it that, was not decided by Dr Grace Mugabe as suggested by your question. It was a matter of following well-established protocol in such circumstances.”
Prof Moyo said the Zanu-PF Women’s League boss is Zimbabwe’s First Lady and as such has always sat next to the President at party meetings such as Central Committee, Annual People’s Conference or National People’s Congress.
He said everyone saw her sitting next to the President at the 6th National People’s Congress last December and nobody raised the kind of “dead questions” that the incident had excited.
“If Dr Mugabe can sit next to the President at a Central Committee meeting, why can’t she do the same at a politburo meeting given that the politburo is only a secretariat of the Central Committee?
“Yes, she is now the Secretary for Women’s Affairs, but that does not change the fact that she’s the First Lady,” he said.
The privately-owned NewsDay newspaper yesterday claimed the First Lady had “set tongues wagging” and “fuelled speculation that she was being groomed to succeed Mugabe . . .” by merely sitting next to the President.
The top table, in past years, has been occupied by the Zanu-PF leader, his two deputies, the national chairman and secretary for administration.
Prof Moyo – who once vowed he would never go on social media “in a thousand” – had a change of heart on February 9 when he opened Twitter and Facebook accounts. Yesterday, he spent two hours answering questions on Twitter and a further three hours on Facebook.
Prof Moyo said he had a change of heart over the use of social media after President Mugabe named him Zanu-PF’s new secretary for science and technology in the Politburo last December.
Prof Moyo’s Twitter handle is ‘@ProfJNMoyo’ and he uses ‘Prof Jonathan Moyo’ on Facebook.