Thursday, July 28, 2005

Moyo reveals the real character behind the Herald's notorious columnist

An otherwise long and distressful week for Zimbabwe, has had one fascinating development that signifies the tough time ahead for ZANU-PF. Jonathan Moyo, the ex-minister, in his long article on the "third way" exposed a pivotal detail of the inner workings of Zimbabwe's state controlled Herald.

During his years in cabinet a dubious columnist, Nathaniel Manheru, mysteriously appeared writing columns that chided independent journalists and picked on critics of the media laws and initiatives of the information office of the government. Many people suspected that Jonathan Moyo was Nathaniel owing to the virulent language used in columns which seemed blatantly incongruous with other writings in the Herald. And since Moyo had hijacked other functions at the state papers and broadcaster including those of editor and news director, it made sense to assume he had usurped the role of columnist too.

It turns out Moyo was not the only government personality hiding behind the fictional Manheru.

Reading Moyo's garrulous entry about the third way/force it struck me that he outed Mugabe's increasingly loathsome spokesman, Goerge Charamba, as the author of the column when the former addressed this threat by latter in a recent Nathaniel Manheru column;

"As for the book he[Moyo] promises the world, not a few will be keen to remind him that the late Zvobgo[deceased former Mugabe ally who threatened to write a tell all book too] had long confided in the system that he was working on a book entitled 'The Fall of a Dictator'. That makes 2000 to 2005 research years, does it not, professor? Hark, who murmurs about the Official Secrets Act and gaping Chikurubi[Zimbabwe's notorious maximum secutrity prison]?"
Moyo, in his third way article vollied this response,

"George Charamba, Robert Mugabe's irresponsible and reckless wordsmith, who regularly violates his civil service oath and obligations by writing the Nathaniel Manheru column in the Herald, can go to hell if he thinks I am concerned about his threat that the book I am writing will send me to Chikurubi. Nothing will stop me from telling the truth as I know and experienced it."
Thus, Charamba was exposed.

So far only the Financial Gazette has given the story national prominence in this article. They highlight another interesting twist to the saga,
"Moyo's revelation, made in a lengthy article on a possible "Third Way" carried by the NewZimbabwe online news service, also raises questions as to whether Herald editor Pikirayi Deketeke perjured himself when he claimed to be the author of the Manheru column during a High Court hearing last year.

Deketeke's claim, made under oath, sought to deflect legal action against Moyo, who was being sued for defamation by the ANZ. Last July, High Court judge Yunus Omerjee ordered Moyo to pay $2.5 million and Zimbabwe Newspapers - publisher of the Herald - to pay $5 million in defamation charges."
There will be a lot of insider information on ZANU-PF splashed across the front pages of Zimbabwe's papers in the days ahead. More and more party cadres are getting fed up with how things are going with Mugabe's party. Pearson Mbalekwa who recently quit is another potential source of incriminating evidence.

The Fincial Gazette also has this article highlights new divisions within ZANU-PF due to Tibaijuka's report.

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