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Why the hysteria, Trevor?

Dear Trevor – AS the day gets close to the publication of my already much-acclaimed book (Against the Grain) I knew the Michael Mtungwas, the Mduduzi Mathuthus and others from the lunatic fringe of Zimbabwean society would emerge in a frenzy from the woodwork, seeking to tarnish my image

(“Nyarota’s defence of Tsvangirai’s dark side scary,” Michael Mtungwa, Zimbabwe Independent, March 17).

It is extremely distressing, however, that some of them are engaging in their nefarious activities in the columns of a highly-respected newspaper published by an esteemed colleague.

You made your name as a publisher who, against the greatest of odds, built an empire straddling the Limpopo. We rejoice with you.

I won world recognition for my sterling work as a journalist. No amount of pontificating in your paper by Mtungwa, acting with the wisdom and courage of hindsight, can ever take that away from me.

In July Against the Grain will further endorse my excellent credentials, with its very forthright and upfront treatment of the whole Gukurahundi saga.

Some of those now may have occasion to hang their heads in shame.

My article in the Financial Gazette targeted Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and Arthur Mutambara.
Why the Zimbabwe Independent has become so hysterical, vicious and emotional in its attack on me becomes a total mystery.

I know you will suggest, in your usually dismissive way, that you leave all editorial decisions to your editors. These matters, however, strike at the core of what is professional, legal and ethical in the practice of journalism to be dismissed by such a casual flourish of the hand.

In any case, I am privileged enough to know that such assertions about the role of editors are not always true.

Meanwhile, just in case you know him personally, I would be most grateful if you passed the attached brief message on to Mtungwa down there in Johannesburg.

Our roles in the media are different but complementary. Let us bury our cosmetic difference and join hands to challenge Mugabe’s tyranny on behalf of those of our compatriots who cannot do so themselves. May the Lord bless us.

Very kind regards,

PS: I offer this as friendly and professional advice. The image of your publications would be somewhat enhanced if they desisted from their fawning obsession with that most obnoxious Zanu PF form of address — Chef — in their headlines?

This short word is convenient for lazy headline writers but it certainly has potential to send wrong signals to the market.

People have talked about this idiosyncrasy of the Independent and the Standard for years. I suppose no one wants to offend you. I mean no offence.

* Geoff Nyarota is former Daily News Editor.

Dear Geoff,

UNFORTUNATELY I have no know-ledge of this Michael Mtungwa and therefore I am unable to help in passing your message to him. I am sure Vincent Kahiya might be in a position to help.
I am glad you say that  “In any case, I am privileged enough to know that such assertions about the role of editors are not always true”.
Having been an editor under two publishers, I fully understand the importance of editorial independence to all my editors.
I am not perfect but I am guided by this principle in all my dealings with my editors. However, you are perfectly entitled to your opinions about me and my newspapers.
Peace and prosperity be with you always.

Trevor Ncube.

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