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old Tafataona Mahoso. He doesn’t appear to have much to do all day except to write long-winded tracts to the editor of the Herald complaining about the editor of the Zimbabwe Independent. Like his epistles in the Sunday Mail, his strictures in the Herald cry out for an editor. Instead of being told to confine himself to 800 words, he is given as much space as he likes, wandering over to a following page without justifying his imposition upon readers.

He cites UN declarations which can be used to support a variety of arguments and presumes to speak on behalf of the people of Africa who long ago junked the redundant views he continues to espouse.

“The people of Africa have established enduring values through their long fight against slavery,” Mahoso pontificates. “The people of Africa have established enduring values through their resistance to colonialism and imperialism. The people of this continent and its diaspora have established enduring values through their common struggles on a global scale against racism, apartheid and UDI.”

What we see here is an attempt to impose an ideological straitjacket on Africa by somebody who lacks a public mandate. Many Africans today see the values of their struggle for liberation betrayed by a corrupt and greedy post-liberation aristocracy. They see governments who are clinging to power long past their sell-by date employing waffling polemicists to justify their arthritic tenure. But what of those African states such as Senegal, Ghana and Kenya which have embraced the new African values of democratic diversity, freedom of expression, and the rule of law?

How does Mahoso explain their values which are diametrically opposed to his? How does he explain Nepad and the AU’s commitment to new standards of governance?

As for the diaspora, has Mahoso not noticed the change in tone of Caribbean newspapers? Why did President Mugabe’s chief Caribbean ally Percival Petterson of Jamaica support the continuation of Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Commonwealth at the Abuja Chogm? Why are most prominent US organisations representing African Americans now prepared to speak out unambiguously on the trampling of democracy in Zimbabwe? Ask Salih Booker of Africa Action what he thinks!

Mahoso claims to be addressing hate speech in his discourse with the Independent. But he says nothing about his own contribution in this regard! And he freely misrepresents our views.

For instance our “mushrooms” cartoon by Tony Namate about Zimbabweans being kept in the dark and fed on manure is cited as an example of racist insensitivity. But it is conveniently confused by Mahoso with the letter about the wildebeests watching while one of their number is devoured by lions to suggest our readers are racist.

“You defend the letter you published on January 2 by saying that such expressions of racist thinking are in fact popular with your readers who find them to be humorous.”

No we didn’t. It was the cartoon we said our readers found humorous, not the letter which expressed a commonly held view about political docility. But Mahoso has craftily conflated the cartoon with the letter to provide a justification for his contrived outrage. He preposterously points to parallels with slavery, colonialism, apartheid and UDI. We are only surprised he hasn’t managed to link Namate’s mushrooms to the Holocaust!

We certainly subscribe to the UN declaration against racism, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination. Is Mahoso seriously suggesting he does?

The claim that his letter to the editor of the Independent mutated into a “public statement” which was directed to all newspapers shows that Mahoso, contrary to popular opinion, possesses a sense of humour. He says we are not the only paper he has written to.

Perhaps in the interests of transparency he could say what other newspapers he has written to and about what? Has he written to any government-owned newspapers? Did he for instance write to the Herald about any of the shocking falsehoods the paper, under heavy legal pressure, was obliged to own up to last week?

 We would also be interested, while we are on the subject of transparency, to know the budget of the MIC, how much its chairman is paid, and what perks he receives.

Clearly, coherent thinking is not one of the qualifications needed for a job at the MIC. Journalists seeking to renew their accreditation are asked the following question: “State the name, address, and telephone number of the person who may be contacted regarding any question in respect of this application.”

So is that the person applying or his/her employer/colleague/friend? It’s as clear as mud!

Question number two runs as follows: “Name, address of head office, mailing address and type of the applicant for renewal of registration, accreditation, or permission.”


Let it be noted for the record that after one month in which Mahoso has occupied endless column inches trying to prove his charge of racism over the wildebeest letter, there has been only one solitary letter complaining about it — predictably published in the Sunday Mail.

Mahoso cites ad nauseam in his columns the South African Human Rights Commission’s investigation into racism in the media. But few South Africans share his views. This is what Mondli Makhanya, the former editor of the Mail & Guardian who has just taken over the reins at the Sunday Times, recently had to say about the commission’s report: “The fewer words written about the Human Rights Commission’s probe into racism in the media the better and some trees will live another day.”

Perhaps Mahoso will spare a thought for the environment and save a whole forest by exercising some editorial constraint in the future.

 Warriors’ coach Sunday Marimo seems confused. After initially putting on a brave face when the draw was made for the African Nations Finals currently underway in Tunisia by saying “We are not afraid of any opponent”, he later decided that he and his charges were merely going to “learn”.

Questionable selection compounded poor preparations by the team rendering it one of the whipping boys at the tournament. Understandably, the team lost its first two matches against Egypt and Cameroon. And that is when Marimo, who had earlier spurned an offer for the team to tour England on the spurious grounds that it was too cold in Europe, realised that “We are not really serious about our football. We arrived here without any preparations and people expect miracles.”

Marimo is evidently no expert in weather-forecasting as he soon learnt that it was colder in Tunisia than England. It wasn’t only his ego that froze as he sat on the bench at Sfax.

It will be remembered that he refused to have a technical advisor and came out on national television telling supporters making their suggestions regarding selection and playing formation to “leave it to me, I am the coach”.

One of the major reasons for the team’s loss to Egypt and Cameroon was of course ineptitude on the part of the technical department, which was indifferent to whether the team was in the lead, drawn level, or trailing by a three-goal deficit!

To Marimo’s credit though, on Tuesday he benched his trusted but ham-fisted “stars” and got a 2-1 result against Algeria.

 Enemies of President Bush will be delighted to hear that an avalanche of books aimed at blocking his reelection this year have hit the shelves of bookstores across the United States. Some commentators, the London Observer notes, now believe Bush’s new status as a hate figure surpasses even the intense loathing by the Left of Richard Nixon.

Books about Bush feature in the New York Times best-sellers list. These include Michael Moore’s Dude, Where’s My Country?, Al Franken’s Lies And the Lying Liars Who tell Them, and Molly Ivins & Lou Dubose’s Bushwacked.

George Soros has announced that removing Bush has become the central focus of his life and he is putting his money where his mouth is. Time magazine has called Bush “the great polariser” while Joe Conason, author of Big Lies: The Rightwing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts The Truth said that in terms of vitriol, left-wing rhetoric is every bit as strong now as it has been from the Right.

 ‘The MDC’s calls for the EU to tighten its sanctions were ill-timed and out of sync with reality,” one newspaper observed this week. It said the latest overtures stemmed from “political desperation”.

The party was “merely kowtowing to US and EU designs on Zimbabwe”, “analysts” told the paper.

“That the call for sanctions was made at a time when the economy was set for revival in the wake of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono’s monetary policy showed that the opposition was not committed to economic revival under a Zanu PF government,” one of these “analysts” said.

Which paper do you think trotted out this partisan drivel? Sounds like the Sunday Mail doesn’t it? Or the Herald on a bad day. In fact it was the Daily Mirror.

 Good news on the transparency front. The Office of the Ombudsman, headed by Beatrice Chanetsa, has just published its latest report.

And the bad news? It is for 1997!

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