via Mugabe race gets dirtier – DailyNews Live 23 September 2014 by Chengetai Zvauya
HARARE – Despite moves by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF to bar members from using the media to air their grievances and to settle political scores, the ruling party is now embroiled in a new and divisive propaganda war amid damaging allegations that some of its leading members are spying for the Americans.
In what analysts have described as a typical Zanu PF culture of deceit, skulduggery and misinformation, some party bigwigs are being maligned mercilessly in this latest war, with the State media calling the alleged American snitches the “dirty dozen” — clearly with a view of smoking out their political masters.
The beleaguered party members, all of them legislators, are accused of soliciting for donations from Washington, with US local embassy staffer Eric Little, allegedly at the heart of the spying saga.
So bad is the situation that this latest factional, and succession war threatens to degenerate into another “espionage” saga like the one which sucked in the likes of Phillip Chiyangwa and several others a decade ago, with almost deadly consequences.
Of the 12 accused legislators, four of the MPs — including Tapiwa Matangaidze, Kindness Paradza, Enock Porusingazi and the Movement for Democratic Change’s Willias Madzimure — said yesterday that they had no illusion this was all a consequence of the ugly infighting in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party.
Some of the Zanu PF MPs also alleged that the stories that have enjoyed prominent play in State media were being sponsored by Information minister Jonathan Moyo.
In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Porusingazi emphatically denied any involvement in the spy saga, although he admitted to being invited to an American Embassy function.
“I only saw the invitation… that was in the pigeon hole, but I did not attend the function because I did not know the agenda. I am aware of the sensitive nature of meetings with (the Americans) and it is not true that I met them,” he said.
“I don’t know why my brothers and sisters in Zanu PF are trying to fight me politically. They are taking advantage of the fact that they are in control of the media to (soil) my image,” Porusingazi said, further noting that “what is happening in the party is very unfortunate” and the name-calling, especially “dirty dozen” moniker was quite painful.
“I can only link these stories to the power struggles… in the party where my brothers and sisters are keen to destroy (each other) politically, so that they can benefit,” the Chipinge West legislator said.
According to the bulky MP, the only non-governmental organisation working in his constituency was Christian Care.
On the other hand, his Makonde counterpart Paradza said he was unaware of meetings with western diplomats, let alone the mysterious Little, and as such the stories were not only “malicious and well-calculated to achieve certain political ends”, but threatened legal action against the state propaganda mouthpieces.
“I know where the story is coming from. The person behind it is known in the party. He has an agenda of wanting to destroy my political career and my other colleagues,” the journalist-turned-politician said.
“This is the second time of having such kinds of stories written about me, full of distortion and lies, published by Zimpapers. The first were published in 2004 resulting in me being expelled from the party and it seems that the same person wants to repeat the lies again.
“I have no links with the US in my political career,” Paradza said, further noting that “he had instructed his lawyers to sue for defamation “as I cannot continue having false stories published about me”.
While Matangaidze also denied involvement in the cash-for-information saga, saying he was in Gweru when the alleged meetings took place.
“I dismiss the articles with the contempt they deserve because they are malicious and contemptuous. I was in Gweru with President Robert Mugabe during the Chief’s Council meeting when I heard that there were some donations being made by the US Embassy to one of the NGO groups in my constituency,” Matangaidze said.
“When I checked on the details of the donations, it was received by a group called Shurugwi Partnership, which was getting the donations since 2008, before my time as an MP. For somebody to link me with the US Embassy is being politically mischievous…,” the Harare businessman said.
Madzimure, meanwhile, said he only met US officials at parliament and did not discuss any political developments either in his party or Zanu PF.
“I also don’t know whether meeting a US official accredited by our government as a diplomat is a criminal offence. I know that the Minister of Media, Information… Jonathan Moyo is behind this false story of wanting to link me…. but he will not succeed…,” the Kambuzuma MP said, adding “l have never received any money from the US embassy and actually looking for donations to start projects in my constituency.”
However, Moyo — who recently chided the media for fanning intra-Zanu PF fights by reporting on key meetings — strenuously denied any involvement in the saga.
“I wish I were as creative as is being alleged by quarters that know or should know better. But I do understand what’s going on because being blamed in this manner has become too common and fashionable I guess because it is in good currency among those in our midst who have imaginary enemies and who are unwilling or unable to take responsibility for what they do or do not do. Such is life these days,” he said.