HARARE – Jonathan Moyo, the Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister, has slammed politicians for keeping the country in perpetual election mode instead of focusing on national development.
In an address to heads of churches’ post-elections dialogue organised by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches in Harare yesterday, Moyo said politicians were stalling efforts to advance the national development agenda by concentrating more on their internal elections.
“People are tired of elections and there is no way we can be in election mode for ever like we have witnessed that in the last two weeks,” Moyo said in unusually frank remarks.
“When we have a party that is supposed to be at the forefront of rallying people for developmental issues locking themselves up in the mode of elections then that is dangerous and unfortunate.
“They pursue politics that are personal, driven by the need for money and corruption and that does not speak to the ideology of the party as enunciated by President Robert Mugabe.”
Mugabe reportedly had to order cancellation of the elections in his Mashonaland West home province after chaos, confusion and allegations of candidate imposition marred the process.
Moyo was making a contribution on the topic “Perspectives on nation building and inter-party relations as a building block for lasting peace: Dialogue with Zanu PF.”
Responding to a question by Eddy Makumira of Christian Care who had asked if the takeover of the retail sector by foreigners mainly of Chinese and Nigerian origin in the capital was not tantamount to colonisation, Moyo urged Zimbabweans to treat them as friends saying they helped the country in times of need.
He said Nigeria had helped Zimbabwe during the liberation struggle as one of the Frontline States despite its geographical location.
“While what you are saying about them occupying the retail sector is by and large true and needs to be looked at, it must be said that the issue cannot be solved by being xenophobic,” Moyo said.
“Remember the Nigerians gave us $5 million to buy out South Africans who controlled Zimpapers at independence and the Chinese have been our all-weather friends.
“We were emotional in 2001 but there is no need to be emotional in 2013 as these are our brothers who cannot be compared to the British and the Americans.”
Asked by Bishop Jude Mashamba of the Reformed Church what government was doing to address media polarisation which he said has seen public media publishing “misleading stories”, the Zanu PF politburo member said polarisation in the media was also making the task of nation-building difficult.
“I believe the question is directed at the Herald but people can choose which newspaper they want to read,” Moyo said.
“However, polarisation in the media has not helped anyone, it has not helped even Zanu PF but instead it has harmed the country.
“It has affected inter-party relationships and this has not only been because if irresponsible journalism but also irresponsible nationalism by some of us.”
The conference convened by clergymen began on October 30 and ended yesterday. It was also attended by ZCC president Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda and Senator Chief Nyamukoho, representing traditional leaders.
Opposition political parties including the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC, newly-formed NCA party, Zapu, MDC and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn also attended.
Moyo was representing Zanu PF.