Former Cabinet minister Nkosana Moyo has thrown down the gauntlet and announced he will be running for President in elections expected next year.
Moyo told journalists at a Press briefing in Harare yesterday that President Robert Mugabe – in power since majority rule from Britain 37 years ago – was behaving “like an undisciplined relay runner” by not handing over power.
“I believe that the time has come for all of us to say enough is enough. It is not time for us to imagine a different being for our country, but to set about creating it. It is only us and nobody else who can do it,” he said.
Moyo left government in a huff in 2001 after being appointed Industry minister in a government then styled “war Cabinet” by Mugabe established at the height of the land reform programme, with the President famously accusing him of cowardly quitting by fax from South Africa.
Mugabe said he wanted “amadoda sibili” (real men), not quitters, but Moyo has set the record straight, saying he personally handed over his resignation to the veteran ruler and did not quit by fax as alleged.
The former Cabinet minister said he has consulted with Zimbabweans at home and abroad before making the decision to contest in next year’s elections.
“What has come out very clearly is that many people, both within the country and in the Diaspora, are yearning for a country that embodies most if not all the ideals we as a people went to war for,” he said.
“Those of us who are old enough will remember the abuse we suffered at the hands of Ian Smith’s soldiers, his police, judiciary and the general injustice that was the norm of that era.
“How can it be that in an independent Zimbabwe our people get subjected to the same.
“Just like me, a lot of you feel that we cannot continue to stand by and by omission, be party to these abuses.”
Moyo characterised Zimbabwe as a “broken society” with a fast-shrinking economy that is “10% of what it was seven years ago”.
Asked of his opinion of Mugabe, Moyo said the President had run his race and handing over the baton was long overdue.
“President Mugabe has run his race. We must respect him for his contributions to the country,” he said.
“He has made mistakes, but we need to persuade him for the sake of us all that it is time he passes on the baton to someone else.
“In a relay all four runners need to understand that the discipline of handing over the baton is meant to make sure the team wins.
“It is indiscipline that automatically results in the loss of the team to refuse to hand over the baton.
“Staying with Mugabe would have been a sign of cowardice because I did not agree with the wrong way they were doing things.”
Moyo, who will be running under the banner of a new political outfit known as Alliance for the People’s Agenda, said he respected Zanu PF’s populist programmes such as the land reform and indigenisation.
“These are meant to make sure citizens participate in the economy, but our problems have never been about these polices, it is implementation,” he said.
Regarding Gukurahundi and other atrocities, Moyo said Zimbabweans needed to move forward and begin to construct a better future “than concentrate on trying to reconstruct a dark past, which will deprive us of the time to build a beautiful future”.
“I am not in any way trying to belittle the pain our people have gone through in these episodes, but I just think in my humble opinion we need to direct our energies in building a future than reconstructing the past,” he said.