Mugabe's spin doctors in public spat

2016-02-01 13:49

Harare - "The gloves are off," tweeted one prominent Zimbabwe opposition official. Said another: "I'm enjoying every bit."

Zimbabweans, not just those in the ranks of the Movement for Democratic Change, have been watching with something approaching glee as President Robert Mugabe's spokesman and his ex-information minister tear into each other in a public spat.

Played out on radio and social media on Thursday and Friday, the war-of-words between presidential spokesman George Charamba and the man who is now higher education minister, Jonathan Moyo, has shed some light on the bitter battle for power within the upper echelons of Zanu-PF as Mugabe approaches 92.

Moyo is known to be a member of the so-called G40 group which also includes Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwao and Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere. G40 members do not want Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe as president. 

Charamba however appears to favour Mnangagwa for the hot seat or at the very least, he's opposed to the G40's plan, analysts say. The spokesman's tetchy relationship with Moyo, his former boss, has exploded into open-name calling.

"They are big fools," Charamba said in comments carried in full by the official Herald on Friday, making it clear he was referring to Moyo and his allies.

"Here are little men with absolutely no iota of history behind them thinking they can one day emerge as leaders of this country, with their little minds thinking baldness is age. It isn't," Charamba said.

Moyo called Charamba "a silly Shakespearean wordsmith" on Thursday. On Friday he warned: "I'm tweeting from up while he [Charamba] is down the ladder."

Former education minister David Coltart of the Movement for Democratic Change said on Twitter: "Things are getting very interesting."

Obert Gutu, the spokesman for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction said: "Public spat btwn George Charamba and Jonathan Moyo. Let Zanu PF crush [sic] and burn."

While not doubting the entertainment value of the fight, some Zimbabweans have wondered more soberly what the fallout will be.

"Brace up for another dramatic year guys," tweeted @RebelMunyukwi. "The chickens are coming home to roost in ZANU-PF".

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