Jonathan Moyo - Former Cabinet Minister, Zimbabwe HARDtalk


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Jonathan Moyo - Former Cabinet Minister, Zimbabwe

Zeinab Badawi speaks to Jonathan Moyo, a former cabinet minister, key ally and close adviser to Robert Mugabe, in his first interview since the ousting of the former president.


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on Tuesday night.

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Now on BBC News: HARDtalk.

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Welcome to HARDtalk,

with me, Zeinab Badawi.

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The removal of Robert Mugabe

as president of Zimbabwe in November

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led to several Mugabe

loyalists going underground.

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The most prominent of these is

probably Jonathan Moyo.

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Until recently, a cabinet minister,

key ally and close adviser

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to Robert Mugabe

and his wife, Grace.

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He has been described as one

of the most hated men

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in Zimbabwe, and is wanted in

the country on corruption charges.

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Jonathan Moyo is now in hiding

in self-imposed exile,

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and says his family

is being harassed, and that his

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life is under threat.

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We cannot disclose his location, at

his request. This is his first

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interview since his ousting of

President Mugabe.

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What has he got to say for himself?

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Jonathan Moyo, welcome to HARDtalk.

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Why have you gone into hiding, and

not wish to disclose your

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whereabouts?

It is because of the

extraordinary situation that exists

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in Zimbabwe following the

unconstitutional overthrow of the

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government in a military coup that

took place on 15 November. And on

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that day the military specifically

targeted my house and myself with a

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clear intention to cause harm, and

that is why I am not in the country,

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although I left the country legally.

I am not at liberty to disclose my

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whereabouts, because they have shown

a very clear and determined

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intention to find me and harm me

wherever I am.

You have talked about

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worries about your life, and threats

and harassment, and so on. What is

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the evidence for that?

It is Common

Cause in Zimbabwe. I have even put

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that evidence on my Twitter feed. On

the morning of 15 November, around

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2:30am Zimbabwean time, between 15

to 25 heavily armed SAS soldiers

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came to my residence, and they

destroyed the gate, destroyed the

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entrance, the door to my house, and

shot their way into every room

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looking for me. But fortunately they

did not find me, and none of the

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members of my family were there,

because I had been forewarned the

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previous night that the military

were going to raid my house, and I

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was advised by a very close friend

that I should not spend the night at

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my house, and that I should take

every member of my family with me

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out of the house, and the evidence,

physical evidence, of what then

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happened to my house, has been there

for anybody to see.

All right, so

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where did you go then? Where did you

go? Reports are that you went with

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your family to Robert Mugabe's

mansion, and that they were allowed

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to stay, but you refuse? Is that

what happened?

That is false. The

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military people who wanted to harm

me on the night of the coup don't

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actually know what happened, and

they have been peddling falsehoods

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about these occurrences. What I

would say, without putting in

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jeopardy many of God's people who

were very kind to give me

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assistance, is that it is true that

I took my family with me on the

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night of 14 November to my

colleague's residents, and my

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colleague being the then Minister of

local government. And the amazing

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fact is that his house was also

attacked about the same time when my

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house was being attacked. When I was

there with my family, it was him and

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his family, and altogether there

were 11 of us at his residence when

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the residence was attacked.

All

right, so that's where you went. We

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know that he and you are one of the

most wanted men from Zimbabwe, and

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in fact the former Finance Minister

is in prison. How did you manage to

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escape Zimbabwe? You say you left

legally, but on the other hand you

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have just described how the army and

the authorities were coming after

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you.

Yes, when they came to attack

Saviour Kasukuwere's house at about

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2:30am on 15 November, they

subjected it to some 15 minutes of

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gunfire, and amazingly, after those

15 minutes, and they surrounded the

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house, the sound of gunfire just

went silent. And we waited therefore

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I think something like ten minutes,

and there was no movement or sign of

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any presence of these Special Forces

that had surrounded the house, and

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shot at it from every angle. And we

then managed to get out of the

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house, and we were amazed that they

were no longer there. They probably

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believed that they...

So how did you

leave the country? You have

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explained how the army attacked both

your house and Saviour Kasukuwere's

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house, but how did you actually

leave Zimbabwe? On the other

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question I asked you is, why do you

now fear for your life since you

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have left the country? Are you

receiving more death threats where

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you are? And how did you leave the

country?

I left Zimbabwean with the

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help of people who to me are angels,

because they saved lives. And I am

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not at liberty to say who helped me,

how they helped me, and how I left

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Zimbabwe, except to say I left

Zimbabwe when President Mugabe was

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the president of the country, and I

left with the assistance of these

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people, legally. Legally. I left the

country legally. I managed to escape

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the net of the military people, and

to be where I am, legally.

So... But

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do you not think that, as I said,

you know, you have got the new

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Zimbabwean government saying they

have got into bowl, they want

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Interpol to help them locate you,

and a couple of others, the most

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wanted, some say most hated man in

Zimbabwe, because you were of course

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very, very close to Robert Mugabe.

It is going to be a matter of time,

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isn't it, before you are returned to

the country?

Well, fortunately there

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is something called International

Law. I want to make clear that, when

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I left Zimbabwe, there was no

warrant of arrest against me. And

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there was only a death warrant, and

we have incontrovertible evidence,

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in black and white, documentation

that shows what the intention of the

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joint in Harare was, with respect to

my security and that of my

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colleagues -- junta. They have,

since the coup, started framing all

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sorts of political charges in the

guise of terminal charges. They say

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they were targeting the so-called

criminal people, criminals

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surrounding President Mugabe. But we

now know that they were talking

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about political criminals. They have

not come up with any crimes that

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rise to the level of charges that

would warrant the interest or

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attention of Interpol. These are

people in pursuit of a political

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agenda. They believe that we

committed political crimes by

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supporting President Mugabe and not

supporting them. So this is a very

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strange and unique definition of

criminals, only applicable to

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Zimbabwe. But I repeat, there is

international law. Yes, everything

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will finally...

There is also

Zimbabwean law, and the government

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has said it wants the president, he

wants to track $2 billion of state

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funds that have disappeared through

corruption and the reports suggest

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that you are wanted for allegedly

stealing assets, under the systemic

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corruption that we know existed

under the Mugabe years.

There is no

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such evidence they put anywhere.

They are going after people who they

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allege were holding beans, rice...

You are one of those. You are one of

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the people they say was involved in

systemic corruption. Let me just

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tell you what a political analyst

and former party member has said. He

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talks about the new government's

delicate handling of the old man,

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Robert Mugabe, but they will make an

example of grace Mugabe, and some

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others around her, even though the

corruption goes much bigger. You

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were one of Grace Mugabe's key

allies, part of the so-called G 40

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faction which was trying to

manoeuvre her as successor to Robert

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Mugabe, so you are really top of the

list when it comes to the people who

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are wanted for this alleged

corruption.

First of all, it is not

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corrupt to support particular

politician to become any

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officeholder, whether it is vice

president, resident. It can't be a

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crime in a constitutional democracy.

It is false to allege that there was

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an attempt to elevate Doctor Grace

Mugabe, the former first Lady. What

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is really going on here is that

there is a group of people that sees

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itself as the stockholders of

Zimbabwe. And this group is led by

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Mnangagwa, who is now president, but

the control of this group is the

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general who was the vice president

now. But he is vice president

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because of a military coup. He has

not been voted into that offers. If

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you grant power by force, you then

must find excuses to justify that

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ground. And this is what they are

doing.

You are questioning

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Mnangagwa, the new president. World

reaction has by and large welcomed

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him. Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary

of State, Zimbabwe has an

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opportunity to put itself on a new

path. Boris Johnson, Mnangagwa...

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And Angela Merkel, Germany will

support you as a partner in your

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endeavours to start a new chapter in

the history of Zimbabwe. That is the

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reality you are facing now. You can

criticise what has happened as much

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as you like, but that is what the

world as saying. It has accepted

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this.

Yes, it is not the world which

chooses the leaders of Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe has a constitution, and

Mnangagwa and his partner know only

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too well that they have come into

power via the Bullet, and not the

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ballot. The Constitution of Zimbabwe

requires people to come into power

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via the ballot.

There will be

elections in 2018, this year.

The

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people of Zimbabwe will decide. If

the world wants to be at odds with

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the popular will of the people of

Zimbabwe, that is up to them. We can

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only be concerned about the Republic

of Zimbabwe, the views of the people

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of Zimbabwe, the international

conspiracy that supports a

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dictatorship, that has come to power

via the Bullet, is another story. It

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will not be experienced by the

Zimbabweans for the first time.

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Well, he has promised free and fair

elections in August this year.

You

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can't hold free and fair elections.

There has never been a single case

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of a government that has come to

power via the Bullet.

You have

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talked of conspiracy, but what is it

you want? Because in one of your

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tweet since Mugabe lost power, is

said to the new leadership in

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Zimbabwe, if you and your lot think

that this will last, then you ain't

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seen nothing yet, come rain or

shine. Are you plotting?

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No. Zimbabwe, in spite of this coup,

Zeinab, it has come off age. We have

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a new constitution and this is

constitution the people have made

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for themselves, and it has been

broken, and it has been broken via a

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coup, and if people think Zimbabwe

will embrace the coup and change

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leaders when they know the factors,

because right now the Cabinet of the

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Republic Zimbabwe is by the most

feared people in this country. They

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are feared because they are

associated with every atrocity that

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has happened. The people of Zimbabwe

cannot be expected to embrace the

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most feared individuals.

What do you

want, a return to the status quo, a

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return of Robert Mugabe and Grace

Mugabe as his possible successor? Is

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that what you would like to see?

Well, every thinking, right-thinking

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Zimbabwean would like to see the

return of constitutionalism and

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legitimacy in Zimbabwe. It is not

about any individual. It is about

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the rule of law. The Constitution of

the country has been subverted. And

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there has to be a return to can stew

Cheryl is. And we do not expect the

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same people who overthrew the

Constitution to restore it. And

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there is a lot that gets set about

Mugabe. I want to put on record that

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I for one am very, very happy, proud

of the fact that I served with him

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and under him.

And you backed Grace

Mugabe, who is by and large not

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admired at all in the country. Are

you happy, do you want to see her

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still having chances of getting into

power?

Zeinab, the fact that people,

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some people, who may in fact be a

minority, have issues with Doctor

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Grace Mugabe does not mean it is a

crime to support her. No one can

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sustain that view. It is only the

people who decide who will lead them

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through an election. You do not

prevent an election through a

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military coup, simply arguing that

you do not like President Mugabe. It

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is unprofessional for an army to do

that. The Zimbabwean army has joined

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the ranks of banana republics where

military individuals intervene

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because they do not like individual,

they lay that individual. They have

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reduced our country to a country of

good guys versus bad guys.

Have you

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spoken to Grace Mugabe?

As far as I

am concerned... Grace Mugabe was not

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only the First Lady, she was also

the secretary for women's affairs in

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the ruling party, and that position,

Zeinab, is a very serious position.

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And as a leader, a top leader in the

party, she was entitled, one, to

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discharge the programme and, two,

have her views as to who should

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occupy office. She was entitled to

that. And in doing so...

Have you

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spoken to her? She has not been

seen. Have you spoken to her, or for

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that matter Robert Mugabe?

No, I

haven't, because of circumstances

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that have arisen. I look forward to

doing so, specially speaking with

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President Mugabe, who is Zimbabwe's

pastor, and unfortunately we are not

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Cubans because our politics have

been influenced by our colonial

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relationship with the white settler

economy and with Britain.

You said

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you are proud of having served under

Robert Mugabe. You have talked about

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his legacy. His legacy, for example,

three quarters of Zimbabwe's

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population live on less than five

dollars a day. One quarter under the

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age of five experience stunted

growth. The Trade Union Congress in

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Zimbabwe says that there is 90%

unemployment. I could go on and on.

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You are higher education minister.

The fees for a term at a university

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in Zimbabwe is $1000 US per term. So

it has become really something that

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only the privileged few can enjoy.

That is just an example of the

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legacy that you talk about.

No, that

is not a legacy! That is what you

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are calling the legacy. You are

identifying certain challenges that

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the Republic Zimbabwe has and you

say that this is the legacy. No!

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That is a very strange definition of

legacy. We accept, as we did even as

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we were in government, that there

were challenges facing the country.

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We know what the reasons for some of

those policy challenges are. But

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unfortunately the President put

faith in the people who have now

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turned against him and who used his

assignment of responsibility to in

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fact plot his downfall.

What you are

part of a government, as I said,

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which, this current government says

now, you're part of this systemic

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corruption, we have heard press

reports of your lavish home in

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Harare.

My home is very modest in

the neighbourhood. There is nothing

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extraordinary about it.

It is

described as lavish.

I build that

0:19:470:19:51

house when I was not in government.

I worked very hard in order to get

0:19:510:19:55

that house built. I am very proud.

You people can create as many

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stories as they want. But the truth

of the matter is you will not find a

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single case where I took a cent to

build anything for myself almost

0:20:040:20:09

family.

Are you talking to an

intermediary about your own future

0:20:090:20:13

and whether you can make some kind

of deal on unity from prosecution?

0:20:130:20:18

You cannot discuss those issues with

an illegal regime. And an illegal

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regime is one that comes into power

against the Constitution in

0:20:240:20:30

violation of the Constitution. That

regime may be in effective control

0:20:300:20:34

of the territory, but it is an

illegal regime, it is an

0:20:340:20:39

illegitimate regime. They kept

saying they want to have elections

0:20:390:20:42

in six months. We know that when

Emmerson Mnangagwa went to Morgan 's

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house, the opposition leader in

Zimbabwe, they pretended that they

0:20:510:20:53

were concerned about his health and

so forth but we know that they

0:20:530:20:58

wanted to negotiate with him to

postpone elections for at least

0:20:580:21:04

three years. They are afraid of

elections. They do not want to have

0:21:040:21:07

free and fair elections let alone

credible elections.

What will you

0:21:070:21:11

do, do you want immunity from

prosecution, do you want to go back

0:21:110:21:15

to Zimbabwe?

We would... Every

Zimbabwean who cares about the

0:21:150:21:22

country would like to see a return

to the constitutionalism. That is

0:21:220:21:26

the fundamental. We must have the

rule of law. The army deployed

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itself in Zimbabwe when the

Constitution says only that

0:21:320:21:36

President can deploy it. When you

have people who have deployed

0:21:360:21:42

themselves, taken over all the

institutions of the state and

0:21:420:21:45

government, you don't discuss

immunity with them.

But if you were

0:21:450:21:49

to be offered it, would you go back,

if you were to be fitted, Woody go

0:21:490:21:53

back?

When the offers you immunity,

you would be a full to enter into

0:21:530:21:59

what is called a frosty and Bagan?

There are press reports that you

0:21:590:22:06

asked the Kenyan authorities for a

bargain and this was refused. Where

0:22:060:22:12

would you go?

-- Faustian bargain.

These are falls reports. I want to

0:22:120:22:22

tell you what you know. You can't

have people become stateless just

0:22:220:22:28

because some individuals have

grabbed power in their home country.

0:22:280:22:32

That is not international law. We do

not live in the jungle any more. So

0:22:320:22:38

these questions will resolve

themselves in the fullness of time.

0:22:380:22:41

So how is Jonathan Moyo going to

live, forever a fugitive on the run?

0:22:410:22:49

Where are you going to live, will

you seek asylum?

I want to remind

0:22:490:22:52

you when I left Zimbabwe there was

no warrant of arrest against me. I

0:22:520:22:56

did not run away from any warrant of

arrest. I ran away, if you want to

0:22:560:23:02

use those terms, from a death

warrant, and a lawful attack on my

0:23:020:23:06

house by military people -- and an

arm lawful attack on my house by

0:23:060:23:13

military people. There is no one in

the world who would sit and say come

0:23:130:23:17

and attack me, come and kill me. You

do not implement justice by sending

0:23:170:23:21

armed soldiers to attack a civilian

resident. So, I am not bothered

0:23:210:23:29

about that question, because at some

point the rule of law and

0:23:290:23:36

constitutionalism will speak.

Zimbabweans are already demanding -

0:23:360:23:39

they want to know what happened to

President Mugabe. He was humiliated

0:23:390:23:43

by the very same people who were

saying they want to restore his

0:23:430:23:48

legacy, who were claiming to be

targeting others around him when, in

0:23:480:23:53

fact, they were targeting Mugabe and

they did so in a very humiliating

0:23:530:23:57

and totally unacceptable way.

Zimbabweans, forget about me,

0:23:570:24:02

Zimbabweans in the country are

asking fundamental questions about

0:24:020:24:06

what happened, why it happened and

they want to see restoration of the

0:24:060:24:10

rule of law, constitutionalism in

Zimbabwe, and they will get it.

0:24:100:24:17

Jonathan Moyo, thank you very much

indeed for coming on HARDtalk.

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The removal of Robert Mugabe as pesident of Zimbabwe in November 2017 led to several Mugabe loyalists going underground. The most prominent of these is probably Jonathan Moyo - until recently a cabinet minister, key ally and close adviser to Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. He has been described as one of the most hated men in Zimbabwe and is wanted in the country on corruption charges.

Jonathan Moyo is in hiding in self-imposed exile, says his family is being harassed and that his life is under threat. Zeinab Badawi speaks to him in his first interview since the ousting of President Mugabe. What has he got to say for himself?