HARARE – Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo has laid into Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and appeared to accuse the Midlands Zanu PF godfather of orchestrating a dirty campaign against him using inaccurate command agriculture projections.
Moyo said while evidence on the ground shows that those participating in the programme will not produce bumper harvests, as being portrayed, he expressed worry that the project has been politicised in the deadly battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
Moyo said the bumper harvest expected will be from peasant farmers arguing that due to the good rains, it was inevitable that there was going to be good yields. He said he was worried that the programme had been taken over by “successionists.”
This comes after Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha reportedly told the State media, that Moyo was castigating command agriculture, yet he was a beneficiary of the programme.
On March 6, 2017, Prof Moyo tweeted: “Report by @Herald Zimbabwe that ‘Command agric exceeds target’ is at best premature & at worst needlessly false!”
This was after Mnangagwa projected a bumper harvest.
Blaming Mnangagwa for the stories that were published in the State media saying that he had benefited from the command agriculture initiative but was not criticising it, Moyo said:
“In the afternoon of Friday March 24, 2017, I had a chance encounter at State House with vice president … Mnangagwa who had just returned from a command agriculture field day in Mt Darwin. As I greeted him, VP Mnangagwa immediately said he ‘did not know that I had one of the best maize crops at my farm in Mashonaland Central after receiving support from command agriculture’ and that he ‘had flown over the farm by helicopter and seen the excellent crop yet I was attacking the programme,” Moyo said in a statement released on his Twitter account.
“I advised the honourable VP that I had not attacked command agriculture anywhere but that, based on my first-hand knowledge in light of my family’s farming experience in Mazowe and the harsh experience of other farmers…,” he said.
Moyo said that he stood by what he had said about command agriculture as he was basing this on facts. Moyo added that the programme had taken a “factional and successionist agenda” and so was doomed to fail.
“Against this backdrop, and given the negative political fixation that successionists who control the public media have against me, it did not come as a surprise to see the scurrilously personalised Sunday Mail lead story alleging that I am a beneficiary of command agriculture and accusing me of behaving like an MDC activist only because I questioned the misrepresentation and exaggeration of command agriculture routinely published by Zimpapers.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I stand by everything I have said about unanswered and very serious questions about the poor implementation of command agriculture and about the folly of public media lies that the government has adopted a command economy.
“No amount of vilification will intimidate me to move from truth to lies,” Moyo said.
He said that the claim that he benefitted from command agriculture demonstrates the ideological bankruptcy of successionists, who do not know the intended beneficiaries of the programme.
He said the gospel that he benefitted from command agriculture was being peddled by “command liars who bask in folly wishful thinking just like their handlers”, whom he however, did not mention by name.
“In policy terms, command agriculture was designed as a ‘special maize programme for import substitution’ and this in fact is its technical or policy name.
“In other words, this is one contractual maize input scheme that is intended to benefit the nation by getting farmers to produce for the State to eliminate maize imports.
“Each contracted farmer is supposed to give the State five tonnes of maize per hectare,” Moyo said.
He said despite his family farm being acknowledged as one of the best in Mashonaland Central, “ the forces behind command agriculture could not hide their evil intentions to investigate this farm…”
“Very satanic. Nothing new. We have suffered this evil and cruelty before. Somebody should tell these evil command fellows that the whole deal is a contract governed in terms of contract law,” Moyo said.
He said too many farmers did not get all the required inputs and when they got some, it was not on time or the inputs were not sufficient as required in terms of the contract.
“Consequently, the targets were not met…,” he said, adding that the bumper harvest will come more from the presidential input scheme than from command agriculture, which he projected could yield between 600 000 and 750 000 tonnes.