May 10, 2006

Zanu PF power struggle goes to court

The power struggle within the ruling Zanu PF party over President Robert Mugabe’s succession was brought to the High Court in a case in which former state information minister Jonathan Moyo is suing two senior members of the ruling party for defamation. Moyo is suing Zanu PF chairperson John Nkomo and a senior member of the party’s inner politburo Cabinet, Dumiso Dabengwa, for defaming him when they allegedly told Mugabe that he had funded and led the hatching of a "coup plot" against the veteran president in 2005. The former information minister, who was dismissed from the government in a bitter fallout over the alleged "coup plot", is demanding Z$2-billion in damages from his erstwhile colleagues. The alleged coup plot refers to attempts by Moyo and other senior Zanu PF leaders at the time to try to block the appointment of Joyce Mujuru as second vice-president of Zanu PF and subsequently Zimbabwe. Moyo, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and six provincial chairpersons were backing former parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa for the vice-president’s post, seen as a crucial stepping stone to the top job.

Moyo, who began giving his evidence-in-chief in court by narrating events leading to him joining the government and later his dismissal from it, will argue in court that Nkomo and Dabengwa defamed him when they told Mugabe that he plotted to topple the Zanu PF leadership. He will further argue that the two had falsely claimed that he had received unspecified sums of money sourced from foreign persons or countries hostile to Zimbabwe. The case will see confidential documents - including minutes of several Zanu PF committees and confidential party correspondence - being produced as evidence in court. (Zimbabwe Online, South Africa)

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