HomeCommentMuckraker: 'Inappropriate Language' Keeps Tsvangirai Off Air

Muckraker: ‘Inappropriate Language’ Keeps Tsvangirai Off Air

There is something profoundly delusional about statements on recent events.


We had for example Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri last week saying the MDC was “the main culprit in the political violence that we are currently witnessing in the country”.

Really? Is that based on an objective and professional investigation?

The current violence stemmed from the land issue, the police chief claimed.

“The Rhodesians have even gone to the Sadc tribunal to override our laws over land,” he told journalists. “This is another form of violence on our rights as a nation,” he said.

So let’s understand this clearly: Chihuri believes that citizens exercising their right of appeal through the courts against expropriation are engaging in “a form of violence” against the country?

This provides useful insight into police thinking.

Chihuri was quoted on March 13 as saying “We will not allow any puppets to take charge.” Constantine Chiwenga said on May 31: “The army will not support sellouts and agents of the West before, during and after the presidential elections.”

President Mugabe declared on June 14: “How can a ball point pen fight with a gun?”

Joshua Nkomo had an effective reply to those who seek to thwart the will of the people.

He accused Mugabe’s government of terrorising thousands of his supporters, resulting in them fleeing to neighbouring territories.

“This is not government, it is the abuse of government, an abuse which transforms the rule of law into the law of rule,” Nkomo wrote in a letter to Mugabe in June 1983. “As such it cannot lead to a free Zimbabwe but to one in which oppression, division, violence and poverty will shadow all our hopes and make a mockery of the freedom struggle in which so many heroes gave their lives.

“Today our enemies laugh at us. What they see is a divided, confused and frightened people led by a divided, confused and frightened government.”

A fitting response to those who invent “puppets” as a pretext for clinging to power.

Then we had ZBH boss Happison Muchechetere trying to explain why ZBC had not carried MDC ads, as required by the Sadc electoral protocol.

That’s because some of them used “inappropriate language”, Muchechetere declared. And what did he mean by inappropriate? Apparently it was the suggestion that Tsvangirai had won the March poll!

One of the MDC ads talks of Tsvangirai having won the “popular presidential vote”. This, it seems, is anathema to the Zanu PF establishment. But surely there can be a number of definitions of “won”, like coming first in the initial round?

The Secretary-General of the MDC was locked up for doing precisely that. He had the temerity to provide an opinion on what the poll outcome would be given figures posted to polling station doors. Anywhere else, this would be regarded as an entirely valid part of the political process. But in Mugabe’s “liberated” Zimbabwe it is a criminal offence to discuss results before the election commission has pronounced on them. And that commission of course can sit on those results for weeks so as not to embarrass the losers!

Is it fair that the president can excoriate his opponents in menacing language, yet lock them up when they criticise him? Zimbabwe’s gamut of “insult laws” have no place in a democratic society and prevent robust political debate.

Muckraker is in possession of a Zanu PF magazine called “All Good Things Are Possible”, “100 reasons why most Zimbabweans will vote Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe in the Run-Off election on June 27.”

What is interesting about this document is the suggestion that “President Mugabe is determined to ensure that at an appropriate time he will hand over to his successor after the June 27 run-off a united, reenergised, prosperous and internationally engaged Zimbabwe…”

The question obviously arises, why have we had to wait for an election for these things to happen? And what are the prospects of a “prosperous and internationally engaged Zimbabwe” after the UN Security Council resolution denouncing violence against the opposition?

Are balance-of-payments support, loans or investment likely to follow after the turmoil of the past three months, arbitrary arrests, abductions, and killings?

It doesn’t seem likely. And why is Mugabe fighting for reelection if he is contemplating his succession?

“The bottom line is that, when the time comes, President Mugabe shall hand over to his successor a going concern after the June 27 run-off and should not be pressured into handing over to Tsvangirai and his MDC as the successors.”

How many people would regard the economy as “a going concern”? More “going, going gone”! As for pressure to hand over to Tsvangirai, this sounds very much like a swipe at Thabo Mbeki and Sadc. The fact is regional diplomacy is aimed at precisely what Mugabe opposes.

If it is any comfort to Mugabe, the MDC leadership regards a GNU with Zanu PF as equally distasteful. But it could soon be the only game in town!

Mugabe “agreed to stand because he wanted to correct things that have gone wrong”, the document tells us.

This suggests he was persuaded to stand when we all know he made absolutely sure nobody else was given a chance. And how successful to date has he been in “correcting things that have gone wrong”?

“He agreed to stand because he wants us to use his friendship with the majority of the leaders of the nations of the world too (sic) mobilise international support we
need to end our poverty and suffering.”

Does that include Eduardo dos Santos, Levy Mwanawasa and Raila Odinga? Are readers of the Herald familiar with what those leaders have said about Zimbabwe in recent days?

And who is responsible for the “poverty and suffering” Zimbabweans are experiencing right now?

We referred earlier to the Sadc electoral protocol which requires equal access for all parties to the public media. Zimbabwe is in open violation of those terms. We cannot have Zanu PF officials deciding who can access the media and who can’t. They are not disinterested parties.

But there is another dimension to the Sadc protocol. How can voters make an informed choice when they are denied information?
The Herald has declined to publish the UN Security Council resolution despite its obvious importance. Instead, a spurious spin was placed on it so it appeared that Britain, the US and Belgium were thwarted in their attempts to have “Tsvangirai installed as president”.

In fact the resolution was unambiguous. It said the Security Council regretted that “the campaign of violence and the restrictions on the political opposition have made it impossible for a free and fair election to take place”.

The Herald also omitted to mention that their friends China and Russia voted for it. And how could the Herald fail to inform its readers that Nelson Mandela had spoken out against the “tragic failure of leadership in Zimbabwe”?

The public media are not serving the public by depriving them of this information. They are betraying their mandate and simply acting as hired hands for the incumbent. Are they proud of their role?

On the subject of a GNU, Muckraker would be keen to know what two gentlemen looking very much like Kumbirai Kangai and Didymus Mutasa were doing in Johannesburg on Monday? Is there something here we should be told?

Something else the Herald didn’t tell us was the presence in Harare of Sydney Mufamadi and Mojanku Gumbi, Mbeki’s negotiators, since last Friday. They would have had a ringside seat for the mayhem witnessed near the showgrounds on Sunday as militia thugs set upon people gathering for Tsvangirai’s rally. This was democracy Zanu PF-style.

Back home the ANC was on Tuesday describing “evidence of outright terror” in Zimbabwe.

To Mugabe’s acolytes really believe things are going to return to normal after this? That there will be “reengagement” with the international community, the economy will somehow undergo a miraculous recovery, and inflation will fall?

That’s what we mean when we say the country’s leadership is utterly delusional. In the absence of balance-of-payments support and international assistance, not to mention investment and trade, Zimbabwe is heading towards complete meltdown. It is a tragedy being played out on TV screens around the world.

Has anybody noticed that the Herald has become an afternoon paper with all those political fingers in the editorial pie holding things up, and the Fingaz a Friday paper?

The Zimbabwe Independent has become an afternoon paper on some Fridays after a delay at the printers. Can we all please get back to normal!

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading