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Powerful propagandist who kept Mugabe in power had links with Mutahi Ngunyi

Mugabe was able to remain in power through clever propaganda.

For many observers, news of the bloodless coup was received with glee while many people wondered why Mugabe was not overthrown much sooner. looks back on one powerful man who played a critical role in maintaining the Zimbabwean dictator through a brutal and clever propaganda war.

Prof Jonathan Moyo is an academician and an intellectual who was longtime Information minister.  He holds degrees from prestigious institutions including from San Francisco University, the University of Southern California and Stanford.


Prior to his rise in Mugabe’s kitchen cabinet, Moyo had worked in Kenya for four years and only left after he was charged, alongside Kenyan political analyst - Prof Mutahi Ngunyi.

From around 1993, Ngunyi was the Executive Director of a programme known as Series on Alternative Research in East Africa Trust (SAREAT) which was publishing a magazine running a magazine known as East African Perspective.

Ngunyi’s NGO was well funded by the Ford Foundation (where Moyo a programme officer) and had contracted John Githongo as the editor for their magazine.

In 1999, an audit report implicated Moyo in misappropriation of Sh600 million, belonging to the Ford Foundation, which were purportedly siphoned through Ngunyi’s organisation.

Ngunyi and Moyo were later taken to court with Githongo being the star witness but the matter was later settled out of court.


Moyo would later lose his job at the Ford Foundation and went on to teach at a South African university before being appointed to Mugabe’s minister in 2001.

When the people were hit by hunger and inflation, Moyo developed to propaganda campaign to cheer up the country with music, football and sex.

The Guardian would later report that Moyo had taken “propaganda to new levels”, the production of some of the pro- Mugabe tunes were so catchy that even opposition supporters have found themselves humming along.

The Telegraph would later state that the Zimbabwean minister was so good that he had managed to create an illusionary “planet Moyo”.

A Zimbabwean editor summed up, Moyo’s power in a past newspaper column, “If Jonathan Moyo was not born, R.G Mugabe could have been history”.


At the time of writing this story, Moyo remained missing and was reported to be among the powerful ministers who have been put under house arrest in the ongoing coup.


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