Jonathan Moyo

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Jonathan Moyo
Jonathan Moyo
BornJonathan Moyo
(1957-01-12) January 12, 1957 (age 67)
ResidenceNairobi, Kenya (Living in Exile).
EducationUniversity of Zimbabwe
Spouse(s)Beatrice Moyo
ChildrenTawanda Moyo, Lungile Moyo, Nokuthula Moyo, Zanele Moyo (late)
Parent(s)Melusi Job Mlevu (late father)

Jonathan Moyo is a Zimbabwean politician and former member of the ZANU-PF party where he was a member of the party's Politiburo. He is also the former minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. Moyo was expelled from Parliament as the (Tsholotsho North) Legislator in November 2017 following the coup led by Constantino Chiwenga which ushered Emmerson Mnangagwa into presidency.

The Zanu-PF Central Committee met in Special Session at the Party Headquarters in Harare on the 19th of November 2017 in terms of Article 7 Section 37(7) of the Party’s Constitution and Moyo was among other top officials who were banned for life from the party.[1]press statement announcing Mugabe’s removal, 20 G40 members expelled

Soon after | Jonathan Moyo was sued for defamation by Chiwenga.

Moyo currently lives in exile in an unknown location.

In January 2019, Jonathan Moyo revealed that he was writing a book "LETTERS TO MY FATHER", which would be an academic memoir unravelling state politics in Zimbabwe since King Lobengula. He would also "tell my father my story since his brutal murder; especially my ordeal in the ZanuPF leadership ranks between 2000-05 & 2009-17!"[2]


Jonathan Nathaniel Moyo was born January 12 in 1957. His father was reportedly a Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) activist and community leader. Moyo's mother was reported to have had strong ties with the late Ndabaningi Sithole, who at the time was ZANU president. It was through these links that Jonathan Moyo ended up being in Zambia and later Tanzania, between 1973 and 1977.[3]

Moyo claimed that his father who died in 1983 was a victim of the 1980s Gukurahundi Massacres.[4] At the end of 2009, Moyo was readmitted in Zanu- PF.

Educational background

He attended the University of Zimbabwe. He holds a Bachelors (Bsc) degree and a PhD degree in Public Policy and a Masters degree in Public Administration.

Political Career

He became active in the political arena in 2000 when he became the spokesperson of the committee charged with the drafting of the 2000 proposed constitution.

In the 2013 Elections, (see A History of Zimbabwean Elections) Tsholotsho North returned to Parliament:

  • Sethulo Ndebele of MDC with 4 827 votes or 375.64 percent, (sic)
  • Jonathan Moyo of Zanu PF with 4 163 votes or 323.97 percent, (sic)
  • Roselene Nkomo of MDC-T with 242 votes or 18.83 percent,
  • Absalon Dube of ZAPU with 222 votes or 17.28 percent.

Total 1 285 votes (sic) (These results do not add, nor is it possible to receive over 300 percent of the vote!)

Positions Held

Minister of Information (2000 - 2005)

After the 2000 Parliamentary election, he was appointed the Minister of Information in the President's office and the Zanu-PF government spokesperson. During his time as Information Minister, Moyo authored restrictive media laws including the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act(AIPPA) which he is said to have drafted within 24 hours.This was disapproved by the media fraternity, activists and the civil society. AIPPA was passed into law in 2002. It was reported that his tenure at the helm of the Ministry was characterized by the closure of some newspapers notably the Associated Newspapers Dailynews and its sister paper the Daily News on Sunday. Moyo also composed catchy' music jingles and albums justifying the Zanu-PF-led land seizures (Third Chimurenga) of the new Millennium that were aired on ZBC channels hourly.[5]

As Minister of Information (2013 )

In the parliamentary elections of July 2013, Moyo contested and lost the Tsholotsho seat. However, after apparently masterminding Zanu-PF's electoral victory, he was appointed Minister of Information in 2013. His appointment enabled him to make changes at the state broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), and Zimpapers,( a government-owned and largest media house in the country). The media fraternity greeted his reappointment with caution fearing the return of the patchy 2000 era when he was at the helm of the ministry. He is credited with introducing a 100% content in all radio stations that saw the birth of Urban Grooves music genre.

As Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education (2015 ...

In a cabinet reshuffle in July 2015, Moyo was appointed the Minister of Higher and Tertiary education effectively ending his tenure as Information Minister. Upon entry in the ministry, Moyo proposed a number of changes to the education system, most notable being the need for a focus on STEM education in Zimbabwe. In January 2016, his ministry announced that students pursuing STEM subjects at Advanced Level would have their school fees waived.[6]

Election into Party

Jonathan Moyo contested for Tsholotsho North Assembly in the 2015 by-elections. He won the election and this paved way for his entrance into parliament as an elected representative.

Tsholotsho Declaration and expulsion from Zanu-PF

In November 2004, Jonathan Moyo and others were accused of plotting to oust the President and scuttle the appointment of Joice Mujuru as Zanu-PF and, subsequently, Zimbabwe's second vice-president, in what has come to be known as the Tsholotsho Declaration. In January 2005, a call was made by the Zanu-PF politburo to expel Moyo from the party and he was subsequently expelled from Zanu-PF in February 2005 when he registered as an independent candidate after refusing to let a woman stand in the Tsholotsho North constituency for Zanu-PF. Moyo went on to win the seat as an independent candidate. In 2008 he was re-elected as an independent candidate becoming the first independent candidate to be re-elected in the history of the country.

Involvement in Zanu-PF factionalism from 2014

In the 2014 Zanu-PF faction wars that rocked the party, Moyo was widely believed to be on the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction. The Mnangagwa faction carried the favour of (or some suggested they used) the president and his wife, Grace Mugabe and with their support, it is suggested that Moyo and Mnangagwa systematically pulled down the Joice Mujuru led faction ahead of the December 2014 congress. At the outset of the intensification of the 2014 faction wars however, Moyo was not considered a friend of first family.

Called "the Devil Incarnate" by Mugabe

As Information Minister, Moyo was famously referred to as the "the devil incarnate" by president Robert Mugabe in June 2014, in an address to mourners at the residence of the late Nathan Shamuyarira. Mugabe accused Moyo of using his position as Information Minister to influence editorial at Zimpapers to divide and cause infighting in the Zanu-PF political party. Mugabe said Moyo had fired editors at Zimpapers newspapers and replaced them with MDC-T sympathisers. Mugabe said in the address partly delivered in the Shona vernacular:

The views that he (Cde Shamuyarira, a former Information Minister) put across (in) the paper was the view of the party that appealed to the people. I am saying this in the light of what is happening now where you have our Minister of Information wanting to put people one against another. It’s a matter we were discussing the day before yesterday (in the Politburo)....

Ndiri kutaura izvi nekuti vese vakomana vakanga vakatungamirira mumaper vakatandwa kuchinotorwa veMDC vachiiswa kuti imi makati tonho muchifunga kuti tine munhu arikutiitira zvakanaka, (he is) the devil incarnate."

Translated, the Shona part means "I'm saying this because the boys who were leading the newspapers were hounded out and he took MDC people, and you are relaxed thinking that we have a person doing good things for us..."[7]

Speaking at the National Heroes Acre, Mugabe also referred to Moyo as a "weevil" that needed to be taken care of. Mugabe likened Zanu-PF to grain that had been attacked by grain weevils that bore into the seed rendering it inedible saying he would speedily deal with them to save the party from total collapse.[8]

The following week, Didymus Mutasa (who was on the Mujuru faction), said at a youth rally that as Moyo was a Weevil, he needed to to be Gamatoxed: "You were talking about the issue of weevils here. Way back we used to treat weevils by spraying Gamatox (pesticide) and they will all die."[9]

In the months leading to this public attack by Mugabe, Edmund Kudzayi (who was arrested on 19 June 2014 as being the faceless facebook character Baba Jukwa) and Mduduzi Mathuthu (among others) had been appointed as editors at Zimpapers' leading titles, The Sunday Mail | The Sunday Mail[10] and The Chronicle[11] respectively.

On 24 June 2014, Moyo made some clarifications to the police officers investigating the issue of Kudzayi.[12] This was on the basis that Moyo had been implicated by Kudzayi as being one of the leaders within the ZANU PF's executive interim whom he was refereed to by Saviour Kasukuwere who is believed to have hired him.[12] Moyo confirmed that the police had requested for his assistance and he made some clarifications whose details he could not divulge.[12]

As Architect of Mujuru faction downfall

In a turn of events, even after being called a devil by the president, Moyo somehow managed to get the first family on his faction's side. Mugabe eventually learnt of a plot by the Mujuru to oust him at the December congress and it is speculated the first family then became friends with the Mnangagwa faction.

Moyo is said to have used his position as Minister of information, to get the government-owned publisher Zimpapers to continuously write negatively about the Mujuru faction.[13]

It is believed then that Moyo masterminded Grace Mugabe's emergence onto the political scene, her nomination as leader of the women's league, as well as the Meet the people rallies. Ultimately, events leading to the December congress saw the apparent foiling of the Mujuru faction's plan to at least dominate Zanu-PF.

2016 War of words with George Charamba

On 28 January 2016, in an interview on ZiFM Stereo, the presidential spokesperson, who was believed to be siding with the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction, said in apparent reference to Jonathan Moyo:

“There are many sinister minds that speak in the name of the President, who are in fact successionists and it won’t be long before the headlines give you the story. Some have been meeting nicodemously with the People First, but they are still in Zanu-PF...

Here are little men with absolutely no iota of history behind them thinking they can one day emerge as leaders of this country with their little minds thinking baldness is age, it isn’t...

The Constitution of Zimbabwe is as clear as daylight. One tragedy of those little fellas and I call them little fellas, they confuse media skills with social skills. They think you can scale up a political ladder by tweeting, who think when you manipulate one or two headlines, you have a social base for launching your stupid ambitions, they will come to grief, get it from me.[14]

Responding to the interview via Twitter, Jonathan Moyo said:

"George Charamba's media voices are no longer of a civil servant but of a politician in aid of a desperate faction. That's unacceptable!

Zanu PF had 2 factions. Mujuru's faction was expelled in 2014 & now exits in the media as PF. Thus only one faction remains the problem! Some of us with hard lessons on the 2004 tragedy of factions resisted the Mujuru faction not for the other faction but for Pres Mugabe!

George Charamba must not abuse his civil servant role as Info Perm Sec to serve successionists.That will be resisted as it was in 2014![15]

Corruption Allegations


In 1993 Moyo was program director for the Ford Foundation in Nairobi. He left under a cloud after allegations that he had embezzled USD $88,000 from the organization.[16]

South Africa

He moved to South Africa in 1998, to the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) to work on a project entitled The Future of the African Elite sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. WITS later alleged that he had absconded with part of a R100 million research grant for the project.In October 2006 Moeletsi Mbeki, younger brother of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, and Witwatersrand University separately applied for an order to have Jonathan Moyo jailed the next time he visits South Africa.[17]




In October 2016 it was revealed that Moyo was being investigated for corruption. It was reported in the state-owned papers that Moyo had abused Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund funds. Moyo allegedly took money from the government education fund to fund the purchase of bicycles in his Tsholotsho constituency. Moyo was also accused of approving the withdrawal of 100,000 litres of diesel coupons from Zimdef and failing to account for the coupons.

ZanuPF Milliona Man March.jpg

In his defence, Moyo said that as a Zimdef Trustee, he had the prerogative to reallocate Zimdef funds to other activities. He also said that he had approved the withdrawal of the 100,000-litre diesel coupons but said the National Youth Council and Zanu-PF Youth Deputy Chairman, Kudzai Chipanga, had taken all the coupons and used them for Million Man March which was held by Zanu-PF in May 2016. Quizzed on Twitter on why they had used tax money for a Zanu-PF million man march, Moyo responded that the March was not a Zanu-PF event but a National Event. This, despite evidence of pictures and articles in the government-owned newspaper, The Herald] showing that the march had been organised by the Zanu-PF Youth League.

Defamation Lawsuit

Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander General Chiwenga sued Moyo in November 2017 for defamation of character.It was reported that the General was suing for $5 million for a press statement issued by Moyo on 9 July 2017 which indicated that Chiwenga did not earn his doctorate degree with the University of KwaZulu Natal, but someone had written the thesis on his behalf.| Chiwenga sues Jonathan Moyo for defamation.

Expulsion from Zanu-PF 2017

The party’s Extraordinary Central Committee recommended the expulsion of Jonathan Moyo for fomenting chaos and divisions in Zanu-PF.

Expulsion from Parliament

Moyo was expelled from Parliament as the Tsholotsho North legislator on the 28th of November 2017.

January 2018 BBC Interview

In January 2018 Jonathan Moyo was interviewed by BBC Hardtalk, his first interview after the military takeover by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces on 14 November 2017. Some of the highlights in the interview include Jonathans opinion that Operation Restore Legacy was done in a sacred month, The 15 November Coup Of Chiwenga And ED Is Doomed!” – Moyo Warns of November Curse and “Mnangagwa negotiating with Tsvangirai to postpone elections for 3 years” – Jonathan Moyo

Prof Jonathan Moyo on BBC Hardtalk


Twitter war with Trevor Ncube

Professor Moyo was involved in a war of words with Trevor Ncube in May 2016. He accused Ncube of burning someone alive to which Ncube failed to answer. Twitter Snippet

Farming Business

Moyo owns Elephant Trust Farm (formerly Patterson) in Mazowe. He farms maize and other crops at the farm. [18]

Death of Daughter Zanele

In October 2015, Moyo's 20-year-old daughter, Zanele, was found dead in her apartment in South Africa. Zanele was a student at University of Cape Town.[19] As of October, the cause of her death was not clear. There was mixed reaction from Zimbabweans to the news, with most sympathising with Moyo's family but a few Zimbabweans recalling Moyo's own apparent insensitivity to the plight of Zimbabweans that have been in similar circumstances, particularly the disappearance of political activist, Itai Dzamara .[20][21]

Claims that he never allied with Emmerson Mnangagwa

Jonathan Moyo claimed that he was never allied with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Despite the fact that Moyo was part of the Tsholotsho Declaration, Moyo said that there has always been mutual contempt between him and Mnangagwa because of the Gukurahundi massacres. Writing on Twitter, Moyo said,

The widely held view that Mnangagwa and I have, at any time before now, been so-called political allies, or that I supported him in the Tsholotsho saga, is pure fiction. Mnangagwa and I know only too well that we have always held each other in mutual contempt. Ever since!

As captured in Wikileaks, on 21 December 2001 Mnangagwa, as Speaker of Parliament, ‘voiced his disdain’ for me to US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Joseph Sullivan. He said that knowing I too was, as I still am, disdainful of him as the ugly face of what’s wrong with Zanu PF and Zimbabwe!

Mnangagwa has flatly refused to acknowledge, take responsibility or apologise for his role in the Gukurahundi atrocities. He’s on record before the coup declaring Gukurahundi a closed chapter…An obvious question to ask is, why has Mnangagwa refused to acknowledge, take responsibility and apologise for Gukurahundi? An obvious answer is simply that he knows only too well that he was, and is, the most culpable; as the leading instigator and enforcer of Gukurahundi.!


  1. Zanu-PF press statement announcing Mugabe’s removal, 20 G40 members expelled , , Published: 19 November 2017 , Retrieved: 20 November 2017
  2. Jonathan Moyo, Jonathan Moyo on Twitter, Published:22 January 2019, Retrieved: 23 January 2019
  3. Prof.Jonathan Moyo
  4. Gukurahundi ghost rattles Zanu PF, The Standard, Published: 28 Aug 2011, Retrieved: 13 May 2015
  5. Blessing-Miles Tendi, Making History in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe: Politics, Intellectuals and the Media, Paper, Retrieved: 19 March 2014
  6. William Chui, Zimbabwean Government Removes School Fees For A’ Level Sciences, Newsvyb, Published:28 Jan 2016, Retrieved:30 Jan 2016
  7. President blasts Prof Moyo, The Sunday Mail, Published:7 June 2014, Retrieved:8 June 2014
  8. Mugove Tafirenyika & Helen Kadirire, Mugabe savages Jonathan Moyo again, Daily News Live, Published:8 June 2014, Retrieved:6 Dec 2014
  9. Obey Manayiti, Mnangagwa, Moyo divisive elements – Mutasa, NewsDay, Published:9 June 2014, Retrieved:6 Dec 2014
  10. New The Sunday Mail editor appointed, The Sunday Mail, Published:8 April 2014, Retrieved:8 June 2014
  11. Former newzimbabwe owner Mduduzi Mathuthu, Bulawayo24, Published:4 November 2013, Retrieved:6 June 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Lovemore Chikova, Jukwa case: Prof Moyo questioned, The Herald, published:25 Jul 2014,retrieved:25 July 2014"
  13. Mugove Tafirenyika, Stop Jonathan Moyo: Mutasa, The Daily News, Published:23 Nov 2014, Retrieved:6 Dec 2014
  14. Exclusive interview with George Charamba. ZiFm Stereo, Published: 28 Jan 2016, Retrieved: 30 Jan 2015
  15. Audio: George Charamba Blasts Jonathan Moyo And G40..., Newsvyb, Published: 29 Jan 2016, Retrieved 30 Jan 2016
  16. [ Information minister fails to gag weekly paper ], 'Information minister fails to gag weekly paper, Published: April 19 2001 , Retrieved: 17 December 2017
  17. "Jail awaits Jono", Jail Awaits JOno, Published: 19 October 2006 , Retrieved: 17 December 2017
  18. Itai Mazire and Lincoln Towindo, ‘Prof Moyo benefited from Command Agric’, 'The Sunday Mail', Published:26 March 2017 , Retrieved:26 March 2017
  19. Elita Chikwati, Zanele's body arrives, The Herald, published:21 October 2015,retrieved:23 October 2015"
  20. Maynard Manyowa, We are losing our humanity, NewsDay, published:21 October 2015, retrieved:23 October 2015"
  21. Dagga in Zanele’s room, says Minister Moyo,, published:21 October 2015, retrieved:23 October 2015"

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