What you need to know about Mugabe's 'newest' challenger

2017-07-01 09:31
Nkosana Moyo. (Frank Chikowore, News24)

Nkosana Moyo. (Frank Chikowore, News24)

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Harare - Zimbabwe's former industry minister, Nkosana Moyo, has just announced he will run for president in next year’s elections as an independent.

This will pit the trained physicist and former banker against President Robert Mugabe, opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and others.

So, here’s what you need to know about the man.

What’s his CV like?

Impressive… if he had one. But we’re told he’s never needed one. He got his PhD in physics from London’s prestigious Imperial College, and later an MBA from the reputable Cranfield School of Management in the UK. After his first job as a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, he entered the commercial and financial sectors, and distinguished himself there, leading to his appointment to senior positions at various banks, companies and financial institutions.

Moyo also founded the Mandela Institute for Development Studies in South Africa. He’s never actually needed to look for a job, they’ve come looking for him according to this recent profile by Albert Gumbo.

What’s he like as a person?

Moyo grew up in a rural home in central Zimbabwe. The words “decent”, “honourable”, “humble” are some of the words used to describe him. It’s not certain whether those traits will be an asset or a liability in the torrid waters of Zimbabwean politics.

Didn’t Mugabe once call him a coward?

Yes. That was after Moyo had a short stint in President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet as industry minister after elections in 2000. Moyo was recruited along with other technocrats like the respected Simba Makoni, who became finance minister. It was a short-lived flirtation though. Moyo quit the job after a few months. Mugabe is reported to have responded to the resignation by saying afterwards: “I do not want ministers who are in the habit of running away. I want those I can call amadoda sibili (real men).”  

Won’t he be a spoiler in next year’s polls?

Inevitably there will be comparisons between Moyo’s presidential bid and that of Makoni, who stood for president in the 2008 polls. Makoni got 8% of the vote. Critics said that Makoni’s presidential bid cost Morgan Tsvangirai outright victory against Mugabe in the first round of voting, forcing them into a run-off that Tsvangiari then had to pull out of because of violence against his supporters. When it became apparent in recent days that Moyo was considering running for the presidency, the Daily News asked him about the possibility of dividing the vote. Moyo said: “The idea of choice must be something to be celebrated, nor feared or treated with suspicion.” 

How are people reacting to this announcement?

The reaction has been mixed, which is understandable. Zimbabwe’s jaded electorate is highly sceptical of any newcomer. At the same time, Moyo’s entrance is likely to be regarded as a breath of fresh air in the sometimes stifling political atmosphere.

“That’s my cue, will have to travel both to re-register and to vote!” tweeted Moses Chikowore after Moyo confirmed he'd contest the 2018 polls.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe 2018 elections

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