WE were appalled by the attempt by the state media and their usual talking heads to turn Morgan Tsvangirai’s remarks in Davos in support of democratic demonstrations in Egypt into something completely different. Tsvangirai’s remarks were translated as “there being nothing wrong with Zimbabweans revolting violently against their government”.
Of course he said no such thing and it goes to show the depths of dishonesty the state press will descend to in order to besmirch Tsvangirai and the MDC.
For the record, this is what he did say in his FoxNews interview in Davos.
“There are two issues. One is the general resentment of autocratic regimes, the manner in which these governments have stayed in power forever and ever. But there is another aspect which I have pointed out …the aspect of incumbents leaving power to their children.”
“I think what we are witnessing here,” he said, “is a general suppression of the people. People are demanding more freedoms and there is nothing wrong with that.”
Having twisted Tsvangirai’s remarks, the state press tried to distort events in Egypt to make a genuine democratic movement look like a struggle against “imperialism”.
“Is Mr Tsvangirai aware,” the Sunday Mail commented, “that the Arab people are in fact denouncing and rejecting Western manipulation? Where does that leave (Tsvangirai’s) Western-inspired regime change agenda?”
The people of Egypt appear in fact to have a very clear regime-change agenda. They want to rid themselves of a corrupt dictatorship. We didn’t see any US flags being burnt or their embassy attacked. What we did see were repeated demands for Hosni Mubarak to go.
“Governments in Africa should be responsive to the needs of young people,” the Sunday Mail pontificated. “Failure to do so will reduce youngsters into a captive audience that can be hijacked by sinister forces with catastrophic consequences for national sovereignty, freedom and democracy.”
So the young people of Egypt we see demonstrating every day in their tens of thousands have been “hijacked by sinister forces” have they? We thought they were demanding democratic governance and an end to tyranny –– just what the young people of Zimbabwe are demanding.
It is fascinating to watch the state press trying to explain away the political earthquake in North Africa. And the daft suggestion that this has no lessons for Zimbabwe when just about every Zimbabwean understands perfectly the connection.
It was as bad as Tafataona Mahoso suggesting on Sunday: “Since when did stepping down become the answer to conflict over a dubious and contested election result?”
For once we agree. Winners should be recognised and not harnessed to losers which places them in an ideal situation to claw back the power voters deprived them of on the grounds of misrule.
Alissane Ouattara wants to negotiate his way into office, Mahoso says, “because a popular audit might show that his claim to popular electoral victory is hollow.”
Indeed, why confine himself to Ivory Coast? Where else are audits being resisted?
If ever proof was needed that Zanu PF is a dysfunctional party, it was there for all to see in the Standard last weekend. Just after Vice-President Joice Mujuru had apologised to the boat owners and property owners for the disturbances that took place recently along the Chivero lakeshore, the president’s nephew Partick Zhuwao promised a repeat performance.
This comes in the wake of expressions of regret and promises that such an episode would not happen again by leading figures in the former ruling party contained in letters addressed to the property owners. Saviour Kasukuwere, Karikoga Kaseke, and Ignatious Chombo all disowned the hoodlums from Zhuwao’s Zvimba constituency.
Chombo said the invaders were just criminals who were not connected to the party.
But Zhuwao, who obviously has little respect for VP Mujuru has threatened that “we are going to do it again”. Only this time, he says, he will get the procedure right.
They have their sights set on the facilities surrounding the lake. And whereas the senior party members understand only too well the damage to investment and tourism, Zhuwao obviously doesn’t give a damn.
He is a veteran invader. He occupies one of the finest farm houses in Zimbabwe and the equipment that goes with it.
Regular readers of this column will recall our claim that once sensible Zanu PF luminaries are given an injection at election time it leads them to say the most outrageous things that inspires laughter rather than respect.
Stan Mudenge is the latest victim of the party jab.
“We are coming with much more determination and resolve,” he said recently on the issue of indigenisation. “The year 2011 will not be business as usual. The train is unstoppable. Anybody who thinks he can stand in our way is a fool.
“We are not begging anyone. The resources are ours. It is time to assert control.
“After all, what is a conservancy?” Mudenge said. “Just a hut built with pole and dagga.
“Are we not able to erect ours? We can go and erect parallel structures and kill all the animals and eat the meat.” Kasukuwere echoed these sentiments.
The irony of this outburst is that Mudenge was trying to impress a Chinese cotton grower who would plant his crop in the conservancy. The Chinese are apparently not foreigners!
“It will not take us three months to destroy the conservancies, Mudenge boasted at a meeting of the party faithful in Masvingo.
On the subject of foreigners, can Mudenge comment on whether he still has a Lesotho passport? We know he needed one to become pro-vice-chancellor of the Roma campus of UBLS. And can you imagine the field day the foreign press will have with a story about a minister who is a distinguished academic, threatening to eat animals placed in conservancies designed to protect them?
President Mugabe told an audience in Addis Ababa that the press should not accentuate the negative. It should stop promoting false conflicts, he said.
The three principals met regularly to review progress in the implementation of the GPA, he said, and Tsvangirai is on record as having lauded the camaraderie at their weekly meetings. “Despite this some sections of the media always
report on the alleged tension and differences in the inclusive government.”
Indeed they do. And they are taking their cue from the president!
Don’t we recall him denouncing the GPA last month as an obstacle to progress? Don’t we recall a whole conference devoted to its demolition? It is extraordinary that all is now harmony and light.
Here’s the deal Mr President. If you agree to stop denouncing the GPA we will do the same.
Who is Dr Paul Chimedza? He is we understand a prominent physician who is chairman of Zimpapers. At the launch of the B-Metro in Bulawayo he said the new tabloid “will add to the ever-increasing number of quality newspapers in the group”.
Quality newspapers? He must be joking. Does that include H-Metro? And the Herald took the liberty of translating its “Super Brand of the Year” tag to mean “best paper in the country”.
Not really the same thing is it? And what is a doctor doing chairing the board of a group of newspapers which refuses to allow any diversity of voices and, as we have seen above, doesn’t hesitate to distort news in order to advance the interests of one party?
We wouldn’t want to accuse Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa of insincerity but his diatribe on ZTV’s Media Watch on Monday was nothing short of dishonest. Mutsvangwa, who apart from being a Zanu PF politician, doubles as an “analyst” on ZTV.
He did not surprise us with his tacit support for losing Ivory Coast ruler Laurent Gbagbo citing religious and ethnic technicalities. That should be expected given that his boss clung on to power despite the electorate showing him the door. He went on to gloat about how President Mugabe was qualified to mediate in the Ivory Coast since “he had done it all before”.
Fortunately President Mugabe — we later discovered — was not on the panel of heads of state mandated to intervene in the crisis. Mutsvangwa should be reminded that the will of the people as expressed through a free and fair poll should be the only way to attain power.
Meanwhile, on a related note, we couldn’t help but laugh at the comments Iranian Foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi made on the Egypt crisis.
Salehi, who was officially endorsed by the Iranian parliament on Sunday as foreign minister, said the uprising in Egypt “showed the need for a change in the region and the end of unpopular regimes.”
This is rich coming from a nation that — not too long ago — brutally suppressed a peaceful protest against electoral fraud.
Iran, China, Libya, and Cuba: What have they got in common? Cruel repressive states. All friends of Zanu PF!
It is difficult to believe that UZ’s economic history department managed in its report on Air Zimbabwe to get the name of the airline’s precursor wrong throughout. It was Air Rhodesia, not “Rhodesia Airways” as the Sunday Times reported based on the report. It was briefly Air Zimbabwe-Rhodesia from 1979-80.
Whatever the name, it was reduced to a skeleton when Zanu PF got their hands on it. We recall Herbert Ushewokunze designing the livery himself.
And finally, on the subject of quality newspapers, Isdore Guvamombe at the Herald struggles on despite an embarrassing shortage of writing skills.
Let’s just help a bit: Ambit and armpit are not the same place. And there is a difference between quaking in one’s boots and quacking like a duck.
Quality newspapers my foot! Quack quack.