The Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Commission (ZACC)’s case against Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa might go up in smoke because of bungling on the part of the antigraft watchdog as well as political pressure from warring ZANUPF factions, the Financial Gazette heard this week.
ZACC is accusing Moyo of conniving with Gandawa and some officials within his Ministry to fraudulently siphon more than US$400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF), for personal gain. While the Tsholotsho North legislator has conceded to using part of the ZIMDEF funds to buy bicycles and motor cycles for traditional leaders in his constituency, he is still pleading innocent because the money he is alleged to have abused was used to bankroll the ruling ZANUPF party. Observers have been keen to see Moyo having his day in court to answer to the charges.
But legal experts averred this week that ZACC – long accused of being a toothless bulldog – might have undermined its case by arresting Moyo and attempting to bring him before the courts last week without following due process. They argued that at law, once such scenario arises, what it means is that the matter could be technically struck off the roll and might have to proceed by way of summons, that is, if the State succeeds in gathering enough evidence. The Higher Education Minister, one of the sharpest brains in the ruling party, has already capitalised on ZACC’s clumsiness by successfully challenging the manner he was arrested at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt). In his ruling on Moyo’s application last week, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, said “the continued opposition to the application by ZACC was driven by something else other than legal considerations”.
Chidyausiku’s observations, according to legal experts, reinforced claims by Moyo that the antigraft body could be pursuing a factional agenda against him. There is therefore a real possibility that tables might turn, with the hunter becoming the hunted. Moyo is already questioning the appointment of acting National Prosecuting Authority(NPA) Ray Gowa on the basis of his previous conviction for dishonesty and defeating the course of justice by the High Court of Namibia. He is also querying the suitability of Goodson Nguni to hold office at ZACC notwithstanding his disqualification from appointment on account of his conviction in South Africa and whether the statutory body has arresting powers.
Regarding the latter, he got some relief last week when Chidyausiku suspended all criminal proceedings against him until the determination of a constitutional challenge on whether ZACC has arresting powers. Moyo has distinguished himself as one of the potential spoilers of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s alleged bid to succeed President Robert Mugabe when he decides to quit active politics.
Along with the ruling party’s national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao, President Mugabe’s nephew, they constitute a triumvirate in ZANUPF agitating for a life presidency of some sort. As such, Mnangagwa’s backers have been burning the midnight oil to finish him off politically. In July, Mnangagwa came out for the first to publicly deny allegations that he was aspiring for the top office. Despite the denials, his rivals are unrelenting in their attacks to quash his bid. Moyo has even threatened to sue Mnangagwa, along with presidential spokesman George Charamba and Christopher Mushohwe, the Information Minister, for fomenting his troubles