Zimbabwe: War of Words Over Zimbabwe Chopper Purchase

Harare — FORMER cabinet minister, Prof. Jonathan Moyo has come under a barrage of criticism for questioning the Zimbabwean government's purchase of US$18 million presidential helicopter.

The chopper is to replace the worn-out helicopter and coincides with another Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) plane crashing and killing two pilots.

An aircraft technician and child on the ground were also killed following horrific crash last week.

Moyo stirred up the hornet's nest when this time tweeted: "Zim Sanctions... . What Sanctions? If President Mnangagwa who moans about sanctions in speeches at every @SADC_News, @_AfricanUnion & @UN meeting can afford to splash some USD 18 million cash to buy a brand new H215 helicopter delivered to him by an Antonov AN-124 cargo aircraft!"

The former information as well as higher education minister accused the president and government for abusing taxpayers' money.

However, Zimbabweans scoffed at the allegations and voiced their support to the government's purchase.

Ntate Mdluli responded, "I applaud (the government for) buying of this helicopter. It was long overdue."

While Mdluli sounded diplomatic, David Muchuchu accused Moyo of undermining the head of state.

"The funniest or rather stupidest thing to do is to see a G40 (generation 40) front portraying USA (United States of America) sanctions as harmless. The worst part is seeing them tagging western handles... .it really makes them look silky," Muchuchu said.

G40 is a faction of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) whose members are mostly exiled and are wanted for alleged crimes committed while they were in government.

They were opposed to constitutionalism and favoured then-First Lady, Grace Mugabe, for the presidency.

One Cyrille said: "You know you (Moyo) suffer from real self hatred when you decide to call yourself a professor and yet choose to ignore the real facts."

Noel Matuvhunye hit back at Moyo's tweet.

"You are now pissing us off! Did you want the president (Mnangagwa) to walk (when on a national duty)?"

Portipher T Masike weighed in saying: "Prof (Moyo). Military choppers that Zimbabwe has are too old and now pose a risk to the pilots flying them and residents on the ground. Residents who do not like government by the anyways (sarcastically)."

One Cde Simbi Madzvamuse said, "We have an ageing fleet because sanctions not only financially incapacitate our government but also prohibit the export of military equipment to Zimbabwe."

Another commentator, Mahole, stated, "The question is, 'does he (President) and the country need a helicopter?' If the answer is yes, and I agree, then a need has been met. The price reflects quality and it has to be durable for it will also serve future presidents, including those who might come from the current opposition."

Simboti Nhewa accused Moyo of double standards.

"You (Moyo) used to scream about sanctions," he said of Moyo's time in government (2000 to 2017).

One Mayor of Casterbridge said, "I am still trying to figure out how your stance on sanctions changed overnight after the night of long knives and dodged bullets."

This was in reference to the night Moyo fled in 2017, alleging an attempt on his life.

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