IN last weekâ€™s Nathaniel Manheru column in the Herald and in ZBC news bulletins, President Robert Mugabeâ€™s spokesperson George Charamba lamented what he called the misrepresentation of Mugabeâ€™s â€œCholera has been arrestedâ€ speech while burying Elliot Manyika at the Heroes Acre.
One can understand Charambaâ€™s frustrations in defending and spinning Mugabeâ€™s words, at a time when it is increasingly difficult to do so. And it is clear Charamba has run out of spin. Â
ZBC then went on to play and replay Mugabeâ€™s Heroes Acre speech, which all but confirmed what he had said, that cholera had been dealt with.
One feels pity though forÂ ZBC for having to defend the indefensible, and if journalists were to quote the president it is because that is what he said, with his own mouth in front of thousands and in front of cameras.
Charamba lamented that all he wishes for is objective reporting from the Western media, not manipulation of facts or events.
Well said! It is interesting to note that this is the same person who controls the state media and who has at no point asked the same media to be objective in their reporting or coverage of the so-called enemies of the government. Charamba wants to be treated differently from the same standard of measurement that he applies on all others he perceives as his enemies.
He has the guts after this to threaten Zimbabwean journalists playing god and threatening to withdraw their accreditation. In other words, he is going to cut their means of livelihood and they will suffer because he did not like what they wrote.
Contrary to what Manheru said, it is you then George who is playing god, it is you who has brought chaos in the Zimbabwean media landscape by playing god and distorting the journalism field with your stubbornly one-sided approach.Â The journalists that you now threaten have done nothing unexpected of them; they reported what the president said. You on the other hand, have interpreted what the president said, embellished it with your words seeking to change the meaning of what he said.
You rightfully, as your job entails sought to defend your employer, that is all fine but please stop playing god and stop pretending that all journalists in Zimbabwe belong to you and that they are puppets in your hands, who you manipulate to suit your desires. Â
We hope after this and in your briefings with President Mugabe, you advise him honestly and openly about the situation in Zimbabwe. One can only conjecture that he is not aware since he lives in Zimbabwe but not with us. He does not suffer water and electricity shortages. He does not suffer from lack of medical attention; he does not buy with forex in our shops; he does not use commuter omnibuses. He relies on you George to know what Zimbabwe looks like.
He only knows what court jesters tell him. And they tell what only amuses him about the greatness of his kingdom and how everyone is happy and loves the king. I hope you advise him that cholera is still very much on the loose and taking hundreds of lives, while our hospitals are shut. We only hope one day you will realise that you are, after all, only human like us. Â