VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru, Energy Dzikamai Mavhaire and now Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo, all have something in common.
They have all suffered from President Robert Mugabe’s wrath for daring to challenge his long hold on power from within Zanu PF, but lived to tell the tale.
A decade ago Mavhaire was frozen out of Zanu PF after his infamous chant in Parliament that “Mugabe must go”.
However, the Masvingo politician has been rehabilitated and has been entrusted with one of the most influential portfolio — the Energy ministry.
When celebrating his 85th birthday, Mugabe attacked academic Ibbo Mandaza accusing him of propping up Mujuru in the late Edgar Tekere’s autobiography and everyone thought Zimbabwe’s most powerful female politician’s ascendancy had been curtailed.
“The Tekere/Mandaza issue, ah, they are trying to campaign for Mujuru using the book . . . you can’t become a president by using a biography. Manje vairasa (they have lost the plot). They don’t realise they have done her more harm than good,” Mugabe said then.
Moyo became the latest victim of Mugabe’s scare tactics last week after he was labelled a devil incarnate and a weevil for allegedly using his intellect to divide Zanu PF from within.
Attacks on Moyo reportedly started at the party’s politburo meeting two weeks ago where Moyo came under fire from the camp supporting Mujuru to succeed Mugabe.
They accused Moyo of using the State media to sow divisions in the party and fight factional battles.
Mugabe took the fight to the public sphere last Friday labelling Moyo a “devil incarnate” at a funeral wake for former Information minister Nathan Shamuyarira.
Mugabe followed up his verbal onslaught with another salvo directed at Moyo in a speech at the burial of Shamuyarira at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare on last Saturday.
He said Zanu PF had been infiltrated and there were weevils working to destroy the party from within.
The attacks led to anticipation that Mugabe would fire the Zanu PF spin doctor.
But indications are that the two smoked a peace pipe with Moyo carrying on with his ministerial duties last week.
Political analyst Creg Linnington said Mugabe’s outburst was a sign that he was troubled by the internal party strife, but could not get rid of officials that would be hard to control outside the party.
“He is concerned about the divisions. It is clear there are internal fights. It is a painful thing that he has to deal with,” he said.
“Not taking any drastic action could mean he can control them from inside. It could be easier for him (Mugabe) to control them inside than outside. They could give him problems when outside than inside.”
Another political analyst Godwin Phiri said Mugabe was fighting factions that are ganging against each other to remain at the helm of Zanu PF.
“He is playing factions against each other. He would seem to be on the side of one faction before moving to the other. It maintains him at the top of the party,” he said.
“One faction would celebrate that Mugabe is siding with them and suddenly he moves to the other. If a faction becomes too powerful or influentials, he attacks it and seems to favour the other.”
Mugabe had an ugly fallout with Zanu PF founder Enos Nkala and after years of trading barbs the two reconciled before the former Defence minister’s death last year.