It is the usual thing: Tell a lie and then invent a quote to support it! We are all too familiar with this deceitful pattern from the hacks at Herald House. But we hadn’t expected the attack to come quite so soon!
On Wednesday the Herald reported that former managing editor Moses Mudzwiti was forced to resign “following reported poor performance of the daily newspaper that was launched about a week ago”.
“Insiders at NewsDay” said Mudzwiti was “pressured into resigning after the newspaper failed to make a significant impact on the market”.
How reliable can a newspaper be when it can’t even get basic facts in its own story right?
How much research does it take to establish when NewsDay was launched? It wasn’t “about a week ago”. It was in fact June 4 as stated further down the story.
And the paper must be making a difference to invite retaliation of this sort!
On Tuesday NewsDay carried a story saying “SA mediators not coming to Zim”.
This was based on a telephone interview with President Jacob Zuma’s International Relations Adviser Lindiwe Zulu who said she was surprised to hear that they were expected in Harare on Monday because there were no such plans.
She said she was concerned about misinformation of this sort surrounding their missions.
Speaking to journalists on his return from the World Cup opening, President Mugabe was reported in the Sunday Mail saying the South African facilitation team was expected in the country on Monday.
“We the principals,” Mugabe said, “have now summarised our report — in other words what our negotiators went through and was submitted to us and we have looked at,” Mugabe said. “We went through it with yeses and nos, and we have come up with what we agree to be the position.”
But the South African mediation team is evidently nowhere near coming to Harare, NewsDay reported.
Then we had Arthur Mutambara clarifying the situation further.
“We had a meeting last Tuesday,” he said. “Mugabe can’t speak to Tsvangirai and vice-versa. I had to intervene and force them to maturity.”
So no wonder state officials and their captive media want to take a pot shot at NewsDay. Its reporting is very inconvenient. Now the reading public will see the importance of alternative voices so the lies can be countered and the public given the truth.
Our marketing department, by the way, is delighted with the sales figures. And Mudzwiti, who did a sterling job as managing editor can speak for himself.
Congratulations to Trudy Stevenson. She has been mentioned in dispatches from Nathaniel Manheru for looking after the president so well during his recent visit to Senegal.
Apparently she not only looked after his itinerary but cooked for him as well. This is how all ambassadors should behave, we are told.
By way of contrast Morgan Tsvangirai was accused of evicting Zimbabwe’s ambassadors from the room when the prime minister needed to speak to fellow heads of government.
And by the way, Tsvangirai is regarded as head of government when travelling abroad however distasteful this may be to President Mugabe’s spokesmen.
But it is the expulsion of ambassadors that has infuriated our bureaucratic class. They are apparently told to leave the room when the prime minister wishes to discuss matters of state with foreign leaders.
“The prime minister is in this shabby habit of summarily dismissing ambassadors of Zimbabwe from meetings with foreigners, meetings in which he purports to be pursuing interests of the state,” Manheru fumed. “He did that in Washington, Europe and lately in South Korea.”
But who can blame him when the ambassador more likely than not is a Zanu PF zealot like Machivenyika Mapuranga who will forward details of what was said to Munhumutapa Building from which it will be retailed with a few spins to the Herald and Sunday Mail. Of course Tsvangirai is going to be wary of the ambassador in that situation.
The Sunday Mail, by the way, reported last weekend that “principals agree on sticking points”. As mentioned above, this was based on remarks by President Mugabe on his return from the World Cup opening in South Africa.
The items on which they disagreed could not be ascertained. But they were agreed, we were told, on the need for an end to sanctions. All Zimbabweans were told to “rally against the ruinous embargo”.
Most Zimbabweans probably think they should be rallying against a “ruinous” land policy and a “ruinous” indigenisaton policy. In fact we should be rallying against all Zanu PF’s “ruinous” policies that sabotage progress before our development partners can be persuaded to lift sanctions.
Wherever Tsvangirai goes on his travels he is given the same message: The GNU partners should adhere to the GPA terms; uphold the rule of law; stop grabbing productive land; and respect those who hold different views. You cannot build a society on fistwaving intolerance of the sort we see from Tafataona Mahoso and Reason Wafawarova who is so patriotic he cannot bring himself to come and live here!
The abuse of the public media persists despite the establishment of a media commission.
And only in Zimbabwe would the head of state be asked for his views on the outcome of a soccer tournament. He backed Brazil if South Africa is knocked out. But in the hope that a little of South Africa’s glory might rub off on Zimbabwe, Mugabe described Bafana Bafana as “our boys”.
“Of course they missed a number of chances but that’s soccer,” the president mused.
It is also politics of course.
Chief Fortune Charumbira is trying to hoodwink us into believing that traditional leaders are apolitical and are discharging their duties in a non–partisan matter.
Speaking at a meeting between members of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) and chiefs he said one of the roles traditional leaders should assume was to also “protect the country if it is under attack from detractors”.
He said they should take a leaf from South Africa’s Chief Albert Luthuli, who won the Nobel Peace prize, “because he left the palace to go and fight the war because his country was under siege from the enemy”.
Can Chief Charumbira stop comparing the legacy of Chief Luthuli to that of our traditional leaders who are partisans of one political party?
Do we not remember Stan Mudenge telling the same traditional leaders in Zimuto not so long ago that villagers who did not support Zanu PF should be removed from their homes?
Why did MDC ministers who chair Jomic, Elton Mangoma and Welshman Ncube, not ask him which detractors Zimbabwe was under siege from? Are they the same ones that feed our starving villagers?
We would have thought that was an opportunity for Mangoma and Ncube to move in and remind the chief that the real detractors of the country were those leaders who were rejected on March 29 2008 for ruining our country and turning its people into beggars on the streets of South Africa and Botswana.
So we will soon be seeing an influx of Russian companies. Moscow’s Ambassador to Harare, Sergey Kryukov, told us on the occasion to mark his country’s national day that Russian companies would flock to Zimbabwe to invest in the mining, agriculture and infrastructure development sectors.
We are happy if foreign investors come to Zimbabwe but we would have wanted the ambassador to tell us about existing Russian investments in Zimbabwe that include gold mining in Penhalonga, just outside Mutare.
Workers say wages and conditions of service are reminiscent of the days of the slave trade.
In the meantime, the Russians have turned parts of Penhalonga and Mutare into red light districts.
Let’s see when they start flocking into the country as promised by their ambassador.
But why does the Herald always remind us each time the Russians and the Chinese are being given investment opportunities that they played special roles during the days of the liberation struggle.
Are these investment deals tied to the respective roles the played in training combatants and supplying weaponry?
Perhaps that is why the Chinese have been given mining rights in Chiadzwa and allowed to paint whole villages red.
Has anybody reminded Chris Mushohwe that a beggar can’t be a chooser?
After making a distraught call for assistance in feeding almost half the population of his province who face starvation because of poor harvests, Mushohwe is suddenly antagonising the very same people he wants help from.
“We have appealed to the government and NGOs and plans are underway to ensure that the vulnerable families are fed and cease to starve,” Mushohwe said. “The situation is dire in Buhera, Chipinge and Zimunya-Marange where families go for days without food or a little single meal per day. The situation is dire and we will make sure that every family is fed in an apolitical manner.”
But instead of tucking his tail between his legs while he awaits the much needed assistance Mushohwe surprised us when he appeared in the Herald telling relief organisations conditions to adhere to when feeding the hungry people of Manicaland.
“NGOs work under guidelines given to them by government and should stick to these guidelines,” he said. “If there are some who stray from their mandate as government we advise them to stop this henceforth.”
Mushohwe said they would not tolerate food aid distributed along partisan lines.
He appears to have a limited memory. Does he not remember the government distributing food only to Zanu PF supporters? Is he also not aware that farms, equipment and inputs were distributed only to Zanu PF chefs and supporters? And what happened to Kondozi?
If he is not comfortable with NGOs accessing rural people who are the most vulnerable why can he not simply harvest from Kondozi and feed them?
If Kondozi does not have the capacity to feed even a handful of starving people, can Mushohwe stop disturbing NGOs from ensuring there is no starvation in Manicaland.
We know the governor and his kinsmen have plenty on their table and are able to rubbish NGOs. But we wish their hypocrisy wasn’t quite so glaring!
We had an interesting insight from the new army commander for 3 Brigade.
Brigadier–General Richman Ncube said some unscrupulous politicians, bent on gaining cheap political mileage and to paint a chaotic situation in Zimbabwe to the outside world, encouraged people from all over the country to move into Chiadzwa.
He described the same politicians who condemned an army campaign to remove thousands of illegal panners from Chiadzwa diamond fields as satanic.
Speaking at the handover ceremony of the incoming and outgoing commanders of 3 Infantry Brigade he said: “Some unscrupulous politicians encouraged people to move into Chiadzwa from all over the country. This was done primarily to gain some political mileage or to paint a chaotic situation in Zimbabwe to the outside world.”
Thank you Brigadier-General, at least the truth is starting to come out now. We know for sure who encouraged people to move into Chiadzwa. And it wasn’t Morgan Tsvangirai or any official from the MDC.