Herald, Chronicle accused of 'zealous advocacy' for Moyo
In a further sign that Moyo's star is fading within government and the ruling Zanu PF party, his subordinate George Charamba who is the permanent secretary in the Department of Information and Publicity, accused the two papers of "zealous advocacy" and "being aggrieved on behalf of a private party member".
What appears to have stung Charamba and his superiors was reference in the Herald and Chronicle's stories to the provincial elections to elect central committee members in which Moyo was nominated by Tsholotsho, comprehensively beating challenger Cain Mathema by 73 to 23 votes.However, he was later dropped by President Robert Mugabe as part of disciplinary measures over claims Moyo planned to engineer a coup.
"The latest onslaught against Prof Moyo comes against the background of a concerted campaign to discredit the Minister," the Herald and the Chronicle reported Saturday. "Trouble for Prof Moyo started after a speech and prize giving day ceremony at Dinyane Secondary School in Tsholotsho which was attended by several senior Government and Zanu PF officials, which his enemies took as an opportunity to bring him down."
In a strongly-worded statement issued Saturday, Charamba said the two papers’ stories refuting the alleged resignation were "disrespectful to the Presidency and the Zanu-PF Politburo".
"To date, the minister himself has not registered any public rejection of the disciplinary action meted out against him by his party, and on the basis of which sentiments expressed in the article (Herald and Chronicle story) might have been justified," said Charamba.
"What the editors have done in the story amounts to being aggrieved on behalf of a private party member. This is untoward, partisan and quite overboard given that the matter is between a party and its member who, in the present circumstances, can only be assumed to have submitted himself to his party’s actions of censure and sanction.
"The report itself is a straight story falling outside an editorial comment, and based solely on unnamed sources. It thus, amounts to unwarranted editorialising, itself quite unprofessional," blasted Charamba.
He added: "Until Professor Moyo, strictly as a member of his party, expressed public dissatisfaction with decisions of his party, newspapers had no right or reason to invent a grievance for him."
"Overall, therefore, the piece smacked of zealous advocacy made all the more odd by the fact that it appeared in two leading national newspapers which should be better informed about party and Government matters," said Charamba.
Moyo who is currently in Kenya on holiday with his family has filed a complaint with the media watchdog -- the Media and Information Commission over a story carried by the weekly Financial Gazette which said he had resigned.
The Financial Gazette claimed on Friday that Moyo had tendered his resignation to Acting President Joyce Mujuru on Tuesday, but had been advised to wait for the return of President Mugabe who is on holiday in Malaysia.
"The Honourable Minister is away on holiday and is expected to resume his State duties by the second week of January," Charamba said in an earlier statement released on Friday.
The Financial Gazette, quoting "impeccable sources", reported that Moyo had resigned "following a sharp twist in his political fortunes".
The Chronicle and the Herald reported Saturday that Moyo had also instructed his lawyers Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana to "institute legal action against the Financial Gazette over the false story".
"He (Moyo) has also lodged a complaint with the Media and Information Commission (MIC) over the fictitious story," the Herald reported. The MIC can instigate the police to arrest journalists for writing "falsehoods", and convicted journalists face up to 2 years in jail.
The Chronicle said
the Financial Gazette report was "a desperate attempt by Prof Moyo’s
detractors to confuse the nation". The paper said there was also
"a clear indication of the involvement of imperialist forces".
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