Zimbabwe’s poison-tongued cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo has sparked a patriotic Mexican Wave on Twitter by gloating over the fall of the rand on Twitter.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was reported recently as having banned his cabinet from using social media, apparently because of former information minister Moyo’s Twitter attacks on his internal rivals.
But Moyo has continued to tweet freely and on Thursday he tweeted that: “After SA lost position as Africa’s largest economy to Nigeria, Rand is now falling like any other African currency!”
That was too much for many of even his own Zimbabweans and certainly for many more South Africans, including Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela who tweeted that diplomacy prevented him from responding directly but appealed to his compatriots to come to his aid.
Which they did, in droves. To help them do so, he created the hashtag #SomeoneTellProfMoyo which scores of tweeters quickly did, turning the hashtag into a trending topic on Twitter within hours.
Most of the tweets observed the obvious effrontery of Moyo chortling about the rand when Zimbabwe’s own dollar disappeared into the stratosphere seven years ago after its exchange rate to the US dollar ran into the trillions. Zimbabwe now uses the US dollar, the South African rand and other foreign currencies as tender.
Monyela retweeted some of the best of the responses to Moyo including
#SomeoneTellProfMoyo “@De_Imperial: I see the Prof, north of Limpopo, has touched SAfricans on their studio. How is the Zim dollar doing?”
#SomeoneTellProfMoyo “@Davidmogashoa: are You Talking about the same #ProfMoyo Who is using another country’s currency…?”
#SomeoneTellProfMoyo ”@MamaKgahlego his hungry people are jumping our fence every hour and SA is giving them jobs, free health care and food.be warned.”
Some Tweeters attempted to seriously engage Moyo who is now minister of higher and tertiary education, science and technology, in serious debate, but to no avail.
Kudakwashe Mugova @kmugova said; “@ProfJNMoyo its more of China’s effect Prof! Slowing Chinese economy affects commodities driven economists like SA.”
Moyo was unimpressed “You believe that crap from the likes of @richardquest on @cnn! “
Nduku Nduna @nduna9 said “@ProfJNMoyo SA is facing challenges but I can’t see her reaching the Zim status unless people vote Malema into power.”
To which Moyo retorted “SA’s exceptionalism is a myth. The African experience has one path with one destiny littered with the same potholes!”
Moyo’s fellow-Zimbabwean Limukani Mathe @limukani_mathe remarked “@ProfJNMoyo At least they have their Rand!”
Which prompted the telling response from Moyo “For now yes!”
But he also insisted that “We are not gloating but merely making an observation over a critical matter that the pundits are ignoring!”
Many tweeters seized the opportunity of Moyo’s rash intervention in the financial debate to remind him of the large amounts of money he allegedly stole many years ago from charities like the Ford Foundation.
When Mzu @Mzukisi_Qobo (a well-known Johannesburg commentator on foreign policy) asked; “Are you #StrongerThanTheRand Prof? “, Moyo replied; “I’m not a currency!”
Or at least not legal tender, it seemed to most of the twitterati.
When Ethniq @EthniqInc told him “@ProfJNMoyo good plan as usual, no denying u guys make so much sense in theory but sadly in practice its the contrary #Actions_speak_Louder”, Moyo’s rather surprising riposte was ”Policy implementation is not a political issue. Only fools expect President Mugabe to implement his policies!”
“Only fools expect President Mugabe to implement his policies!”? Really?
Emboldened by the support he had rallied, Monyela then chimed in with a few tart tweets of his own, including’ #SomeoneTellProfMoyo That “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
And “#SomeoneTellProfMoyo That “Jealousy makes you nasty”.
Monyela then tweeted or re-tweeted a host of bragging messages about South Africa’s achievements and inventions, not excluding the Kreepy-Krawly automatic pool cleaner.
And he whipped up the patriotic indignation and fervour an extra notch by creating a new hashtag “#WeAreSouthAfrica” which he inserted into a series of Tweets, like “#SomeoneTellProfMoyo The rand will bounce back because….#WeAreSouthAfrica “- with a spectacular aerial picture of Cape Town, including the World Cup stadium.
There was also “#SomeoneTellProfMoyo the Rand will recover because #WeAreSouthAfrica – with an impressive bird’s eye view of the Union Buildings, and “#SomeoneTellProfMoyo the rand will bounce back because…#WeAreSouthAfrica with a glorious aerial shot of Durban and the Indian Ocean.
It was a regular Twitter Mexican Wave.
#SomeoneTellProfMoyo he has inadvertently transformed the falling rand from a national embarrassment into a patriotic rallying cry.