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Nkomo miserly with truth about Nyashanu

WE were interested to read tributes to Nevison Nyashanu who was declared a national hero by Zanu PF and buried at the national shrine on Sunday. This provided a platform for John Nkomo to make some extravagant claims about lost blood and true revolutionaries.


But Nyashanu hasn’t always been a hero. Nkomo acknowledged that Nyashanu was “arrested, detained and tortured”, but he suggested this was all the work of the Smith regime. In fact Nyashanu was also a victim of arrest and torture by the Zanu PF regime.

In the mid-1980s he was detained at Chakari police camp near Kadoma and badly beaten. His offence was to have remained in touch with former Zipra cadres. The CIO officer in charge at Kadoma was Ernest Tekere, according to published reports.

When Judith Todd visited Nyashanu at Chakari she noted his head was swollen as a result of the assaults, according to her account, Through the Darkness. A Life in Zimbabwe. In the brief time available she asked Nyashanu about his swollen head.

He had time to say just two words before his interrogators returned: “Tekere. Truncheon.”

Nkomo omitted much interesting detail in his graveside speech. Before his abduction and disappearance Nyashanu had stood for Harare Central against Bernard Chidzero in the 1985 poll.

He told Todd during her visit to Chakari he had three detectives working on him full time preparing treason charges. What a nice irony given the sentiments expressed about Morgan Tsvangirai in Mutare!

So much to say but the Sunday Mail declined to say any of it! That’s what happens when the press is suborned by a political party.

What were the circumstances for instance in which Nyashanu lost his job at the Public Service Commission?

NewsDay carried a front-page picture on Monday of a sparsely attended ceremony.

A pity really given his contribution to the country.

Tekere, under whom Nyashanu suffered at Chakari, popped up again in the Pius Ncube case, more alert readers may recall. His clandestine home movies proved of value to the ruling party. He denies any connection to the CIO.

Other facets of a state-run press are columnists whose incontinence runs beyond editorial control. Tafataona Mahoso provided a good example of this last Sunday when, having run out of Cold War leftists to quote, he quoted himself at length.

In the process he took a pot shot at CZI boss Joseph Kanyekanye who he described as “a nice and clever man” — a kiss of death coming from Mahoso who many would say is neither.

CZI members, Tafataona claimed, support the MDC-T but favour a delay in elections because they fear that a popular vote will politically bury Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC-T, the very same way it buried Abel Muzorewa in 1980.

“This faction of the so-called business community is going around trying to intimidate voters,” Mahoso claimed, “saying that early elections will bring violence, food shortages, fuel shortages and cash shortages similar to those the country suffered in the period after the 2005 elections and up to the beginning of 2009.”

How is this reality a form of intimidation and how does it compare with the sort of intimidation those affiliated to Mahoso’s gang are currently engaging in?

By the way, we recall Muzorewa getting three seats in 1980. Tsvangirai’s party won 99 in 2008. Any analysis of voting patterns will show Zanu PF losing ground in every post-2000 election with the brief exception of 2005. And why can’t Mahoso wake up to the fact that Mugabe lost the 2008 election because of persistent misrule, not some external conspiracy. There was indeed a landslide, as Mahoso suggests, and Mugabe lay firmly underneath it.

As for sanctions, Mahoso and those who think like him had better wise up to the fact that so long as Zanu PF behaves like a rogue party it will be impossible for people like Kanyekanye to get them lifted, however hard they may try. Can you imagine going out on a limb from your own constituency only to be savaged by a frothing Sunday Mail columnist lying in wait!

Before we leave the subject of frothing columnists, a New Year’s wish for Reason Wafawarova. Could he please tell us why he doesn’t want to come and live in the homeland he claims he will die for. Do we not have a contradiction here?

Congratulations to the Herald for its sensible comments on passports. Bringing in retired civil servants would go some way to shifting the backlog. And of course once an applicant’s citizenship has been confirmed it should not be necessary to go through the same process every time a new passport is needed.

What also needs to be said is that passports should have many more pages than is currently the case. With so many countries requiring visas from Zimbabweans travelling abroad, a new passport fills up very quickly.

Meanwhile, Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede must stop dragging his heels on South Africa’s offer of a security printing press which we gather can print 4 000 passports an hour. If that will help move the queues, so be it. Why is it Zanu PF officials like to make life as difficult as possible for the public they are supposed to serve? The whole system is currently down because of an electrical fault and therefore there won’t be any renewals, Mudede told a press conference on Monday exactly when the public wanted to hear some good news from him. “I want to assure the nation that our experts are on the ground.”

What are they doing “on the ground”? We need them fixing the problem and we need Mudede to graciously accept South Africa’s offer of a security printer.

By the way, was it generally known that the country’s central data base was at KGV1 barracks?

Then there are the new number plates. Who thought up the plan to withdraw the old ones? And who is making money from this exercise?

Muckraker was rather surprised by Joyce Mujuru’s remarks to Sadc ambassadors to Brazil. She was in Brazil for the inauguration of that country’s new president. At a dinner hosted by Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Brasilia, Thomas Bvuma, and attended by Sadc diplomats, she thanked Sadc for their support in the face of Western pressure.

It is rather surprising that the vice-president should use Brazilian soil to make a partisan speech in which Southern African envoys were encouraged to salute Zimbabwe’s “brave stance” against sanctions. We wonder what EU ambassadors will say to their Brazilian hosts?

Namibia duly complied without it seems attempting to reflect the wishes of the Zimbabwean people. It is not in the interests of Namibia to ignore democratic change in Zimbabwe because of misplaced solidarity with an unpopular regime in Harare.

On a similar topic, when will President Mugabe be making his visit to Bishop Crespo in Ecuador? We look forward to that event announced in September. We would hate to think that the media was misled by official pronouncements.

Muckraker enjoyed a letter to the editor of the Herald recently claiming that President Mugabe was being “demonised” because of his “solid stance” on land and sovereignty.

“We say to those who do not see the good that Cde Mugabe continues to do for his people, ‘Go to hell’.” The writer went on to wish the president a prosperous New Year!

As far as dubious letters to the editor go, the Herald takes pride of place. The indelible footprint of Munhumutapa Building on the “letters” is evident to even the most undiscerning of readers.

On Tuesday we were (mis)treated to one such letter entitled “Nyashanu a true hero”.

“Those who thought that the no-nonsense attitude was only a preserve of President Mugabe,” the letter read, “were amazed when Vice-President Nkomo reiterated that the land reform would not be reversed, illegal sanctions had to be removed and that Zimbabwe would not entertain outsiders meddling in its affairs.”

From a reader??

In the sms section there was yet another one: “We have no words for you Commander of the Defence Forces and first secretary of Zanu PF. You are just good.”

Oh please spare us your in-house material and publish real feedback from readers!

The BBC reported last week that a group of Internet hackers code-named “Anonymous” had blocked the official government website and the Ministry of Finance site in protest at Grace Mugabe’s lawsuit against The Standard.

Mugabe sued the paper for publishing a WikiLeaks report implicating her in diamond pillaging. Reuters reported that the government web portal www.gta.gov.zw was unreachable last Thursday while the Finance ministry’s site www.zimtreasury.gov.zw displayed a message saying it was under maintenance.

“We are targeting Mugabe and his Zanu PF regime who have outlawed the free press and threaten to sue anyone publishing WikiLeaks, Anonymous activists said.

Muckraker tried to navigate through the websites and observed that on Monday the treasury information portal was still down. The government website meanwhile insists on calling archived material “achieved”. No marks there.

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