How long has he had to outlaw hate speech in his own media? The Sunday Mail is happy to lend itself weekly as a platform to abuse civics and journalists. Why has he let this pass him by?
What he calls “pirate stations” are needed so long as the so-called public media continue to mislead the public about the situation in the country. It would cost nothing for him to comply with a cabinet directive to open up the airwaves. They also need to introduce professional standards in the public media.
Why is a party that won the last election denied access to the media so Zanu PF spokesmen can continue to use it for partisan purposes?
The public media should be open to a variety of opinions so voters can make an informed choice at the polls.
It was interesting to hear UN human rights commissioner Navanethem Pillay make the useful point that the Zimbabwe Media Commission seems more concerned with controlling and censoring media than promoting freedom of expression.
We noted the ZMC said nothing when a gang of thugs called the Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Association threatened to attack vendors of NewsDay and the Daily News if they “demonised” President Mugabe. The papers were given a month to find something positive to say about Mugabe, it was reported –– a challenging task!
Shamu has asked MPs to support his legislation. What they need to say is their support will be conditional on compliance with Section 20 of the GPA which includes reconstitution of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe board. It’s as simple as that.
Meanwhile ZBC’s political “analysts” this week emerged from the woodwork to lambast Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for saying the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) board appointments were flawed, describing Tsvangirai’s sentiments as “misplaced and mischievous” and bent on tarnishing the image of the country.
This comes after Shamu had “clarified” to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology that the appointments were done in accordance with the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee, says ZBC.
The usual coterie of talking heads were on call to defend Shamu’s stance. First off was Goodson Nguni who castigated Tsvangirai for the “unwarranted noise” over the BAZ board given the fact that the appointments were done according to Section 4 of the Broadcasting Services Act.
Another analyst, Alexander Kanengoni, said Zimbabwe is run by a constitution which clearly states that the BAZ board is appointed by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity in consultation with the president.
Despite stating that Shamu needed to consult President Mugabe, Kanengoni conveniently overlooked the fact that the president was among the principals who had directed Shamu to reconstitute the board.
Shamu said without restrictions the media industry was susceptible to monopolies, oligopolies and other combinations that hurt media diversity. It seems Shamu’s idea of media diversity is two more Zanu PF-aligned radio stations.
Also of note was Tendai Biti’s claim that a small group of powerful Zimbabweans have grown so rich they can afford to fly around in private jets. “There is no doubt that a small coterie of individuals is benefiting from Zimbabwe diamonds,” he said last week at a workshop.
Beneficiaries are not afraid to flaunt their new-found wealth, he said, while ministers like himself earn only US$800 a month. Now who could have been talking about flaunting their wealth?
We would be keen to know if Patrick Chinamasa feels content with his mission last week to manage Pillay’s visit. That was obviously his self-appointed task. This all stems from a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva a few months ago. Chinamasa volunteered on that occasion to invite the UN to visit Harare. Which explains his shepherding Pillay around and repeated emphasis that she was a guest of the Zimbabwe government.
But things weren’t entirely straightforward. Venues chosen for meetings with NGOs were rejected by NGOs as unacceptable. And bogus pro-Zanu PF NGOs who met Pillay at government-appointed venues weren’t taken seriously. Then a story was circulated claiming Pillay’s conclusions had been reached before she arrived in Zimbabwe. This was just plain daft, not to mention insulting. A former judge, she was perfectly capable, as we soon discovered, of reaching her own conclusions.
What emerged in particular was evidence of the large number of arrests of civic activists and journalists –– even ministers. Indeed, the numbers of those arrested confirmed the impression of a police state.
Within a day of Pillay’s departure, MDC-T officials reported the death, allegedly by Zanu PF thugs, of Cephas Magura in Mudzi. This followed the disruption of a MDC-T rally.
Pillay would have had difficulty ignoring this incident even though it took place after her departure. Just a couple of days earlier Chinamasa had said it was okay for the army to participate in politics. She made it clear that was not okay with her!
It might be a good idea to send Chinamasa to Mali. That would be a good way to show him what happens when the army meddles in politics.
If there was any contest then Chinamasa takes the plaudits for the most off the wall comments when he said army generals have a right to meddle in politics by virtue of having fought for the liberation of the country, the Standard reports.
Chinamasa said by making political statements, generals were merely “pointing out the way” they wanted the country to be ruled.
“The army people were liberators and you cannot deny them the voice to keep this country on course, so that there is justification for those who died for the country and those who lie in unmarked graves,” he said.
Chinamasa claimed that the political statements by generals were meant to serve as a warning that returning the country to colonialism and opposition to the land reform programme were unacceptable.
“For any country to be called a democracy, its army must observe strict political neutrality, Pillay had said. “As the GPA clearly says, state organs and institutions do not belong to any political party and should be impartial in the discharge of their duties.”
A Justice minister, of all people, believes the nation should be held to ransom by a cabal of securocrats against the will of the people. Cry, the Beloved Country indeed!
What on earth is going on at the Sunday Times? They have become cheerleaders for tearful Walter Mzembi. “Under Mzembi’s three-year old watch, Zimbabwe’s tourism is slowly turning around after a decade-long battering induced by the country’s economic decline,” the paper declared last weekend.
Mzembi last week celebrated the latest figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council which confirmed Zimbabwe’s new-found return to glory, it said.
“Zimbabwe is now the fastest growing industry in the world, second only to China,” Mzembi was quoted as saying. But the question everybody is asking: Will the energetic minister survive elections projected for next year? The Herald carried a front-page picture on Tuesday of UN World Tourism Organisation secretary general Taleb Rifai being welcomed at Victoria Falls by Mzembi and Ignatius Chombo. They signed an “historic tourism deal”.
On the same page of the Herald there was a report on the murder of MDC-T official Cephas Magura. The MDC-T said he was its Mudzi North chairperson and alleged he was severely assaulted by Zanu PF supporters at Chimokoko Business Centre.
Dr Rifai, we assume, reads the newspapers. Mzembi was elected president of the African Travel Association at the Victoria Falls conference. We were interested to note that Jomic and the three parties in the GPA chose this week to distance themselves from Chipangano. This newspaper drew attention to the link between Zanu PF and Chipangano several months ago, describing it as a criminal gang. Only now have they acted.
As for the dramatic growth in tourism, that comes from a very low base. Just look around and see how many tourists you can spot outside the Victoria Falls. You can count them on one hand. Where did this dubious report originate? China’s tourism growth is admittedly huge. Zimbabwe’s manifestly isn’t. “Return to glory” indeed!
Does anybody remember what it used to be like in the 1980s? You couldn’t move for Brits, Americans and Australians. Now they have all gone to Zambia and Namibia.
And by the way, Rhodes didn’t dream of a road link to Cairo as the Herald suggested. It was a rail link.
ZBC subjected their hapless viewers to yet another lickspittle news item involving President Mugabe. They always seem bent on outdoing themselves.
“On Saturday morning African stars and Zimbabwean soccer legends trooped to State House where they were hosted by the country’s first citizen just before the Benjani Mwaruwari testimonial match,” fawned ZBC.
While the focus was on Mwaruwari, one man was “finally living his own dream”.
“At 62, Cosmas Zulu, affectionately known in football circles as Tsano, could not hide his joy at meeting President Mugabe in person for the first time,” we are told.
“Sixty two years your excellence (sic) I have waited for this moment, 62 year (sic), thank you your excellence, thank you for having me to finally meet you in person,” gushed Zulu.
ZBC went on to state that getting a handshake and a hug would have been enough “but Zulu got more than he had bargained for and after decades he finally sat down with his hero for a photo shoot”.
“Even if I die now I have met my president,” Zulu fawned.
Adding to the sycophancy ZBC opined: “Cde Mugabe appeared to be saying to Tsano: ‘Not yet my boy, remember you are 26 years my junior and here I am, you can go on’.”
At the same event President Mugabe revealed he is a fan of Spanish side Barcelona and newly-crowned European champions, Chelsea.
“When I watch soccer, I do not want anyone to disturb me. Even my wife knows where to sit because while they are scoring in the field I will also be scoring at home, kicking everything in front of me,” Mugabe said.
Finally the Huffington Post came up with some infamous football fans.
Osama bin Laden was an Arsenal fan. Bin Laden attended four matches at Highbury in the 1990s while living in England looking for funds to finance his operations.
Al-Saadi Gaddafi, the third son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, was a Juventus fan. The one-time captain of the Libyan national football team, Saadi was on the board of the Bianconeri before he stepped down to join Perugia.
Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascist dictator, supported Bologna FC. Mussolini “helped” his club win four Italian league titles between 1925 and 1937. The Rossoblu were bankrolled by the local Fascist administration and the head of the Italian Football Federation.
Adolf Hitler supported Schalke 04. Hitler may have bombed Old Trafford, but he was not a Manchester City fan. The Fuhrer had a soft spot for Schalke, who, funnily enough, were German champions six times between 1933 and 1945.