THE government is finalising plans to set up an Ndebele newspaper designed to cover Matabeleland provinces with Zanu PF propaganda ahead of the parliamentary election schedule
d for March next year, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
The vernacular newspaper, understood to be strongly supported by President Robert Mugabe’s information chief Jonathan Moyo, will be published under the ambit of the Bulawayo-based government mouthpiece, the Chronicle.
The Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers), the holding company for government-controlled newspapers, has already lodged an application for licensing of the newspaper with the media regulatory body, the Media and Information Commission (MIC).
MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso could neither confirm nor deny that Zimpapers had applied for registration of the envisaged Ndebele publication.
“That is confidential information. We do not announce plans that are still in the pipeline. We have a lot of applications but it is not for us to go around announcing them. It is up to the person lodging the application to disclose,” Mahoso said.
Government sources said plans to set up the Ndebele paper were mooted by Moyo, who said the paper “would tell the story of Zimbabwe to people in Matabeleland in their own language”.
“The overall aim is to counter reports in independent newspapers that Moyo considers hostile to Mugabe,” said a source.
The ruling party in the last general election lost in Matabeleland provinces. In Bulawayo, for instance, eight of the parliamentary seats and 29 municipal seats were all won by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Moyo has recently been on a drive to smother the entire sub-region with ruling party propaganda. The government recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Namibia, which will culminate in the launch of a propaganda mouthpiece titled the New Sunday Times.
Said Moyo about the setting up of the paper: “We need media that do not apologise about their nationalist and pan-Africanist roots.”