Here is a minister who has refused to comply with cabinet directives to reform the media, doing exactly the opposite! He has compounded the problems in the media by acting as an agent for the reactionary elements around the president.
If he wants to launch a campaign against the independent media, let him. He will be the loser. We are not likely to lose any sleep over the fulminations of former Rhodesian DJs. We know we are doing the right thing. Our standards are international, his are parochial. Who will the public support: a free press or a captive press?
Perhaps we should remind Charles Ndlovu that the keyboard is stronger than the sword. No more threats please from the reactionary cabal he represents. We will happily take them on. And let’s hope that Catherine Ashton and Aldo Dell’Ariccia note the delinquency of Zimbabwe’s rulers when they meet in Brussels this week. Here are ministers who have wilfully blocked change. Why should Zanu PF be rewarded for its persistent obstinacy?
The MDC-T which will be represented at the Brussels talks hasn’t exactly been proactive either. What have they done to advance press freedom?
In a sense we welcome the shocking remarks by Major Martin Chedondo this week. He insists the army has a duty to participate in national politics on the spurious grounds that it is protecting the integrity of the nation. Let’s hope those remarks are noted in Brussels.
Singing the same song as Shamu, Zimpapers boss Justin Mutasa chose World Press Freedom Day to argue that freedom of the press should be curtailed where necessary. There was no absolute freedom anywhere in the world, he claimed.
And do newspapers have to adopt a confrontational approach to government, he wanted to know? That of course depends on whether they are good governments or bad governments. He has chosen to side with a manifestly bad one.
Shouldn’t he be extending the parameters of press freedom instead of limiting them? He tells journalists that they were expected to operate “under the confines of the law”. Does that include bad law of which there is plenty? Instead of identifying repressive laws that newspapers should be campaigning to remove, he talked about newspapers abusing press freedom.
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Media Commission has done little to challenge the partisan occupation of the public media space by media which parrot Zanu PF propaganda –– an abuse if ever there was one.
Shouldn’t the public media be open to a variety of publics? Shouldn’t its output reflect the diversity of views that can be found across the nation? Why just a handful of half-baked columnists who sound as if they are related to the nomenklatura that presides over the mess we are in?
Last week we had a columnist giving us the benefits of his opinions on Copac. These opinions were then translated to the newspaper’s front page where they were offered up as news. So you had the same story on the op/ed pages as on the front page written by the same writer pretending to be somebody else!
Shamu’s speech on Press Freedom Day was a disgrace and Unesco did nothing to mitigate the toxic remarks. “If the last five years of change,” Shamu said, “do not show the media industry and the journalism profession to have fulfilled their promises, then the sovereign people of Zimbabwe have no option but to intervene and protect themselves through the instruments of the state…”
Are these the same “sovereign people of Zimbabwe” who decisively rejected Shamu’s party in 2008?
What an example of vote-counting the French have given us. How long did it take them to get the results out? Just a few hours was it? And no complaints. This is the standard time it takes throughout Europe. And our electoral officials? How long did it take them? Five weeks was it?Justice George Chiweshe got a medal for it.
Despite this glaring disparity, ZBC’s political “analysts” say the defeat of French president Nicolas Sarkozy should spur Zimbabwe to launch a new diplomatic offensive under the newly-elected Socialist, Francois Hollande.
While noting that Sarkozy’s leadership “was very bad in every context”, Chris Mutsvangwa says his fall should spell a new dispensation for Zim-French relations.
“Observers say it was Sarkozy’s personality more than his policies which cost him his job. He was also the first sitting president to get divorced and remarry while in office and the French never forgave him for failing that moral test,” we are told which shows just how little knowledge of the French there is at ZBC.
Mutsvangwa would be better advised not to pop the champagne corks just yet. French voters were more concerned about economic issues closer to home than Zimbabwe-French relations.
The Standard reports that President Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, was last week held hostage for hours by workers at his Gwebi Junction Estate near Norton after failing to pay them their wages for the past three months.
The 115 workers sang revolutionary songs, beat drums before sealing off the farmhouse exit, demanding their money, the Standard states.
“Sensing danger, a frightened Zhuwao, who is Zanu PF MP for Zvimba East, scaled the fence and eventually escaped using a back exit much to the chagrin of the irate workers.”
The workers said they were also infuriated by the fact that whenever they raised the issue of payment, Zhuwao would accuse them of being influenced by Francis Mukwangariva, a Central Intelligence Organisation operative also eyeing Zvimba East in the upcoming polls.
Zhuwao confirmed that he was held hostage and that the workers had since sealed him off the farm until he brings their wages.
“Remember, I am a tobacco farmer and I can only pay them after selling my tobacco, which can be anytime soon. But the unfortunate part is that they have sealed me off the farm,” Zhuwao bleated.
In an application for a show-cause order to Chinhoyi Provincial Labour Office, Zhuwao requested the labour office to provide a ruling declaring the strike illegal.
“The illegality of the strike and its associated disturbances is premised on the understanding that the workers failed to give 14 working days notice of their intention to engage in such an action,” reads the letter.
It seems that anything that Zanu PF officials do not agree with, they deem as “illegal”. At least he did not attribute his failure to pay his workers to “illegal” sanctions!
Meanwhile adding to the ever-growing list of “empowerment” organisations is the Zimbabwe Entrepreneur Youth Association (Zeya). According to the Sunday Mail Zeya vice-president James Pande said youths were concerned that foreigners were still dominating sectors reserved for locals.
“We are worried as the youths of this country because foreigners are still dominating the reserved sectors like retailing around town,” he said.
He urged government to move with speed so that the young indigenous people would start to benefit from the fruits of the liberation struggle.
Our question is why do they need to close down running businesses for them to enjoy the “fruits” of the liberation struggle? Who then would fill the gap left by these foreign companies?
We are told that Zeya is led by businessman Munya Maoresa who has recently held meetings with the Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere to discuss various “empowerment initiatives”.
Will these “empowerment initiatives” benefit the unemployed youths or remove competition for bigwigs who have dismally failed to measure up on the free market?
We were amused by David Chiweza’s article in the Herald last week in which he attempts to rope Nigerian prophet TB Joshua into Zanu PF propaganda.
“If TB Joshua serves the same God who appointed President Mugabe and anointed him, like Moses, to stand against the power of the superpowers of this world and triumph, then surely his coming can only settle Zimbabwe’s squabbles over the direction and ownership question,” chirrups Chiweza.
“As I see it, TB Joshua has already made a big statement that resonates with Zanu PF during the New Year messages this year. Listening to his message this year, he declared that God wants Nigerians to stop using oil money to import consumer goods, but to use oil money to import machinery and technology to manufacture goods locally,” he says.
Despite trying to portray TB Joshua as subscribing to the Zanu PF ideology, Chiweza goes on to state that “any attempt to own him is an attempt to put God in one’s pocket”.
Clearly the irony is lost on him!
As they say, you can put lipstick on a pig but it will still be a pig. This is what the mandarins at The Patriot newspaper are finding out after readers and advertisers alike have shunned their hatchet-job publication which has been attacking Weaver Press.
Even Zanu PF supporters seem to be tired of the dreary propaganda judging by the subdued reception The Patriot has received.
Zanu PF-aligned companies and state enterprises have also balked at wasting scarce resources by advertising in a publication no one wants to read because they have seen it all before.
The situation, we are told, has gotten so bad that they are now muscling state-owned companies to advertise in their newspaper, using their links to Zanu PF for leverage. Their attempts to use political muscle have hit a brick wall, however, with several state enterprises refusing to be bullied. Desperate times call for unpatriotic measures it seems!
NewsDay reports that a 50-year-old Nyanga woman died on Sunday after drinking illicit traditionally brewed liquor known as kachasu in Magadu village.
Anna Makore had gone for a drinking binge with a male companion where Makore allegedly had one too many and could not walk back home.
According to NewsDay, she sought refuge at a neighbour’s place for the night where “she woke up dead the following morning”.
How did she manage that?
Another Hifa closed last weekend. It was Manuel Bagorro’s swan song and he deserves a tribute to his dedication and professionalism over the years. He turned a small-town music show into a major celebrity event. Nothing like this had been seen in our neck of the woods. It was no exaggeration to say it was on a par with Edinburgh and Grahamstown.
Sadly security was unable to keep up with the threat posed by criminals who thought it was Christmas.
Disappearing cellphones and handbags soon entered double figures. And the door to the greenroom became increasingly a scene of battle as people attempted to get in.
The organisers spoke of the vast amounts they were levied by the authorities who saw the prospect of making money everywhere. But despite such official opportunism, all in all Hifa 2012 was a great success. It will be under new management next year. We wish them all the best. As for the city of Harare, what would it cost them to clean up the pavements (those hazardous litter-filled holes) and generally tidy up the place?
Finally, joke of the week: 80% of the population do not want a new constitution, says Jonathan Moyo.
We all recall his claim in 2000 that those voting against the draft would be returning the country to colonialism. Is there any chance of him being consistent for more than five minutes?
And why do the regime’s apologists become so prickly over any mention of the flag or National Anthem?
They are trying to cover themselves in history. But don’t we recall Ishe Komborera Africa before Solomon Mutsvairo came along? Was it so sacrosanct then?