Jonathan Moyo in January
Degree in Public Administration,
MA and PhD in Political Science (University of Southern Carflifornia,
PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Lecturer
at University of Zimbabwe, Worked for the American Research Institute,
Ford Foundation in Kenya and later lectured at Wits University in
POLITICAL CAREER: Joined
Zanu PF in 1999 as deputy party spokesman and was appointed to Mugabe's
cabinet as Minister of Information and Publicity in the President's
Joseph Goebbels in October
DIED: May 1945
First Degree and later
a Doctorate in Philosophy (partly done at several universities including
Bonn, Freiburg & Heildelberg Universities)
HOBBIES: Reading, music
Worked for a Berlin journal, the Volkische Freiheit, then the Nationalsozialistische
and later established own newspaper called Der Angriff.
POLITICAL CAREER: Nazi
deputy in 1928 and Minister for Public Enlightment and Propaganda
five years later.
BOTH men are known for their sharp put-downs
on journalists whose questioning is out of line with official policy.
They are both noted for their fanatical capacity for hard work, public
speaking and constant agitation through the media.
But rarely have the rather disturbing similarities between Robert Mugabe’s
balding information minister Jonathan Moyo and Hitler’s spin doctor
Joseph Goebbels been probed in detail.
like Moyo, had an unhappy childhood. He was disabled and walked with
a limp – although he often tried to disguise it. He had a rather
large head, the same as Moyo, who is also balding.
Although Goebbels, born 1897, grew up in a lower middle-class family,
the same cannot be said of Moyo who was wounded as a child by the constant
squabbling between his peasant father and mother, which led them to
Goebbels disliked his father because he thought he was mean and often
described him as a “bourgeois”. Moyo is said to also despise
his father’s treatment of his mother, and there was little contact
between them until his death in the 1980s at the height of President
Robert Mugabe's genocidal campaign in Matabeleland.
of Moyo’s childhood are fuzzy but during the liberation struggle
in the early 70s, he was conscripted to the guerrilla movement but later
deserted at Mgagawo training camp in Tanzania. Goebbels, always the
fiercely patriotic, turned himself in for an army call up but was rejected
because of his stooping figure and disability. He cried for days.
After deserting, the trail becomes hard to follow but Moyo, born 1957,
emerged at the University of Southern California in America - some say
with the help of a white missionary impressed with his sharp brains.
He graduated with a degree in Public Administration and later gained
his Masters and PhD at the same institution.
Goebbels went to several universities - Bonn was one of them - before
gaining his Doctor of Philosophy degree at Heidelberg. The extra-ordinary
shaping of Goebbels’ career started while he was doing his thesis
for his doctorate
he was a mere spokesman, Moyo stole the limelight by remaining close
to journalists with regular nights of free booze which he sponsored"
was the examination of the work of Wilhelm von Schutz, subtitled ‘A
contribution to the History of the Romantic Drama’. A few years
later, Goebbels 'Nicodemously' pulled the thesis from the university
archives and renamed it ‘The Spiritual and Political Undercurrents
of the Early Romantics’ to imply that his interests were political
during his studies, largely to endear himself to Hitler.
Goebbels was evolving a self-consciously assured outlook mixed with
considerable vanity. He pursued his education voraciously and precociously
to compensate for his physical disability – a result of infantile
paralysis at the age of four.
for avoiding the truth began to show when he was at university and was
writing to his girlfriend Else in 1923: “You mustn’t be
angry about my not writing, during my holidays, my ink pot has dried
say in later years as he assumed the mettle of master of spin: “Propaganda
must no investigate the truth objectively (but) it must present only
that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side.”
He also seemed to have an answer for everything. When confronted about
his lateness for a Nazi meeting and his use of a taxi, a symbol of extravagance
at the time, Goebbels said: “You don’t know much about propaganda.
Taxi, be damned. I should have taken two, not one. The other for my
briefcase, don’t forget you have to impress the people. And as
for being late, I did that deliberately. I always do. You have got to
keep them in suspense.”
Besides reading, Goebbels enjoyed music earlier on in his life –
a passion he shares with Moyo who lists listening to classics as one
of his favourite hobbies. Moyo has also recorded a CD in Zimbabwe which
has been replayed continuously on state radio.
interest in the media can be traced back to his impressively articulate
articles criticising Mugabe’s government in the early 90s. These
were published by Zimbabwe’s intellectual magazines. He also studied
radio production in Nairobi, Kenya.
Goebbels first worked as a deputy editor for the right-wing Volkische
Freiheit (People’s Freedom) newspaper. He soon found himself talking
at public meetings and it is at this point that he is described as becoming
agitated to the point of hysteria at any opposition to his views.
When Goebbels met Hitler, it was a case of a failed writer meeting a
man who had failed as a painter (Hitler was a keen artist), say Roger
Manvell and Heinrich Frankel in their book: Dr Goebbels, His Life
and Death. A great deal of these early setbacks, they argue, stayed
alive in Goebbels to exacerbate his political temperaments.
man who once said Mugabe had an “uncanny propensity to shoot himself
in the foot (and) has become a national problem which needs containment”,
Moyo’s sudden turn-around to be Mugabe’s cheer leader bears
the magnitude of Paul’s conversion in Damascus.
Prior to joining Mugabe’s cabinet, Moyo worked at the Ford Foundation
in Kenya where it is alleged he concocted some fantastic project ideas
and managed to get millions of dollars but never delivered on the projects.
He slipped into South Africa where similar allegations followed at Wits
University before being appointed to the Constitutional Commission in
1999, never to return.
After the government’s defeat in the constitutional referendum,
observers say Moyo felt that this was a direct challenge on him. His
former peers at the University of Zimbabwe like Professor Welshman Ncube
had opposed the government constitution. His ego had been punctured
and he had to gain revenge, even if it meant going into bed with his
arch-enemy, Robert Mugabe.
Although he was a mere spokesman, he stole the limelight by remaining
close to journalists with regular nights of free booze which he sponsored.
When Mugabe made him his information minister, Moyo’s tune remarkably
changed: "Mugabe is someone who accommodates, someone who listens
(and) will naturally treat his enemies with understanding."
The history of the two men – Goebbels and Moyo – shows one
was a politician and the other could have been driven into politics
to shelter himself from possible legal action from his former employers.
didn’t have as a politician he has compensated by mastering Goebbels’
art of black propaganda, inevitably drawing comparisons between their
information management style which looks strikingly similar.
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