PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s former spin doctor Jonathan Moyo was warmly cheered as he was introduced as leader of the Zanu PF delegation to the African National Congress’ policy conference which opened in Midrand on Tuesday.
Moyo – an outspoken critic of South African President Jacob Zuma – was introduced moments after the ANC leader had given a lengthy speech which ended with him belting his signature tune ‘Mshini Wam’.
Zanu PF’s choice of Moyo as leader of the delegation would have raised a few eyebrows, given his trenchant views on Zuma, particularly over his mediation effort in Zimbabwe and support for a UN resolution which preceded NATO’s military action in Libya.
ANC chairman Baleka Mbethe introduced various delegations from around the world from allied political movements, and correspondents at the Gallagher Estate were unanimous the loudest cheer was reserved for the Zanu PF group.
Carien du Plessis, a political reporter for City Press who was in the hall, said on Twitter: “A delegation of Zanu PF led by Jonathan Moyo is also here. They get lots of claps.”
But it seems not everyone in South Africa was amused. Responding to du Plessis’ tweet, Kameel Premhid – who describes himself as a “professional trouble-maker” and “part lion, part fox and part hawk”, said: “How disgusting!”
Moyo has been leading the charge for Zuma to be releaved of his SADC mandate to help Zimbabwe’s political protagonists move towards free and fair elections.
He accuses Lindiwe Zulu, the leader of Zuma’s “facilitation team” of “regurgitating American and European rubbish against Zimbabwe”.
On April 3 last year, Moyo said Zuma was “now tainted beyond recovery by the Libyan situation and his commitment to the African cause has become questionable" after the South African leader voted for UN Resolution 1973, which was later used by France, Britain and the United States to depose the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
“With all due respect, and please take note that there is a lot of it, the mere fact that President Zuma of South Africa voted for the atrocities that the US and its NATO allies are committing in Libya under UN Resolution 1973 makes him an undesirable SADC facilitator on the political and security situation in Zimbabwe. Zuma can no longer be trusted if he ever was,” Moyo said.
Zuma later condemned the NATO bombardment, saying it was a “misuse of the good intentions in Resolution 1973... we strongly believe that the resolution is being abused for regime change, political assassinations and foreign military occupation.”
In May, after a Johannesburg art gallery put up a portrait of President Zuma by a white artist with his penis sticking out, Moyo penned a lengthy piece warning that the “uncomfortable bottomline is that South Africa is a white-controlled black country and the dysfunctional consequences of this tragedy are yet to fully play out with very worrying signs everywhere that all hell is about to break loose”.