Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao and the late president’s former information tzar Jonathan Moyo have inched closer to rejoining Zanu PF after issuing a statement apologising to “comrade members” for backing the opposition. In an open letter to Zanu PF members, seen by ZimLive, the duo – ousted during a military coup that toppled Mugabe in 2017 – insisted that there was never a danger of them joining President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rival Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change.

The letter fell short of requesting readmission into party. “Between 2018 and 2020, on the back of the November 15, 2017, military coup that ousted President Mugabe and his government from power and violently targeted us and other comrades linked with the so-called G40, we associated ourselves and used the hashtag ‘Zanu PF Must Go (#ZanuPFMustGo), in our public messaging and communication,” wrote the former Zanu PF loyalists. “Whereas we stopped using the hashtag and disassociated ourselves from it quite some time back, it is our considered judgments that we owe you a long overdue apology for having used the hashtag and for having associated ourselves with it in the first place.

“Accordingly, and on this day November 15, 2022, we hereby apologise to all of you Comrades most sincerely and with profound regret for our wrong use of – and ill-advised association with – the hashtag ‘Zanu PG Must Go’ (#ZanuPFMustGo).” Moyo and Zhuwao said the violence that was targeted at them and their families as the military seized control of government still did not justify their demands for Zanu PF to go.

Wrote the exiled pair: “While it is common cause that the protracted public differences we had with other leaders in the party and the government became irreconcilable to the point where military force was used to target us with our families, and to overthrow the late former President Robert Mugabe and his government; and whereas that use of military force was unconstitutional and set a dangerous governance precedence in the country and elsewhere across the continent, we have come to the full realisation and conclusion that those unfortunate developments and their tormenting consequences on us did not – and do not – justify our use of and association with the hashtag ‘Zanu PF Must Go’ (#ZanuPFMustGo) which clearly targeted not those who have tormented us but also all of you, as members of Zanu PF.”

The politicians said at no time did they seek to join the opposition led by President Mnangagwa’s rival Nelson Chamisa. “For whatever it is worth, we supported Nelson Chamisa in the 2018 elections and well after that but we did not at any time in that process ever seek to join his then MDC-A or his new CCC,” the pair said. “As President Mugabe best put it ahead of the 2018 harmonised general election, ‘there was no one else to support’ given the political dynamics at play at the time.

“We hoped in vain that Chamisa would break barriers and forge a new platform on which a cross section of citizens straddling the political divide could converge, based on Zimbabwe’s founding values and principles stipulated in section 3 of Zimbabwe’s constitution.” Writing on Twitter in August last year, Moyo had insisted there was no chance of him rejoining Zanu PF. He tweetedd: “It would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for me to go back to Zanu PF, let alone to support Emmerson Mnangagwa. Red lines were crossed in November 2017. I cannot go back to Zanu PF and still love my wife and kids. ZanuPF will never be everyone’s party, again!” Since the coup, Moyo has been holed up in Kenya while Zhuwao lives in South Africa.