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Zimbabwe Deputy Minister Clashes With Retired Army General Sibusiso Moyo Over Coronavirus Tweet

FILE: Energy Mutodi, Zimbabwe deputy information minister speaks about his opposition to the planned quarry mining project in Domboshava area on May 6, 2019.
FILE: Energy Mutodi, Zimbabwe deputy information minister speaks about his opposition to the planned quarry mining project in Domboshava area on May 6, 2019.

Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi claims that he is living in fear following his public rebuke by Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs minister, who distanced the government from statements he made on Twitter, suggesting that Tanzanian president John Magufuli is struggling to contain the coronavirus crisis in his country.

In a tweet, Mutodi said, “Living in fear of the Chris Mutsvangwa-SB Moyo coalition. I hope it won’t resort to wartime tactics. Appealing for prayers.”

His tweet set social media on fire with some political commentators and other people suggesting that there is a fallout between Mutodi and presidential adviser Mutsvangwa and his wife Monica Mutsvangwa, and Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo.

In a tweet recently, Mutodi said, “HE John Pombe Magafuli’s Tanzania now has 630 COVID-19 cases with prayers but without a lockdown while His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe only got 31 cases with a lockdown & masks. An insight into how managers can be game changers.”

Responding to the tweet, Moyo said Mutodi’s remarks did not represent the views of the Zimbabwean government. Moyo’s statement was made soon after Mutodi also claimed that Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa was abusing the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation by issuing remarks that advanced the political ambitions of her husband and their associates.

In the latest clash of the ministers, Mutodi wrote a letter to Moyo urging him to stop attacking him, noting that the two were running different ministries.

He said, “I wish to remind you that our two ministries operate on a divergent yet complimentary role, with your Foreign Affairs Ministry outward looking while my Information Ministry is inward looking. While our ministry is worried about the public perception on the national leadership, its image, electability and the public approval ratings of the president, your ministry focuses on foreign cooperation and diplomatic engagement, otherwise our two ministries should have been merged if they served the same purpose.”

Mutodi went on to take a swipe at Moyo saying his utterances were uncalled for as they have puzzled Zimbabweans.

“…Your public statement which could have been sufficiently dealt with by a diplomatic correspondence to the Tanzanian embassy if it mattered, has divided public opinion first on the definition and meaning of government and whether you had become its Prime Minister in charge of the two ministries.”

Moyo has not yet responded to Mutodi’s latest remarks amid fears of a fallout between government ministers, who once teamed up to unseat the late former president Robert Mugabe in a defacto military coup.

Efforts to contact Moyo were unsuccessful as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.

Zanu PF Central Committee member, Joseph Tshuma, said it was unlikely that Mutodi was being used by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to attack The Mutsvangwas and Moyo.

“I don’t think the president who is the appointing authority in terms of hiring ministers can do that because he has the power to dismiss those that he believes are not doing well or working with him in government.”