TALK Radio is not so talkative it would seem. In fact apart from the music it is distinctly quiet for a supposedly “talk” station –– to the extent that the station’s name has been changed to Star FM. This week they have been congratulating themselves on “moving forward with the opening of the airwaves”.
“We are finally here and at Zimpapers history has been made,” board chairman Dr Paul Chimedza proclaimed. This was “another feather to our nest”, he said. That we presume is similar to having a feather in your cap!
But amidst the back-patting, things are less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed out there. The Zimbabwean public is proving a tad shy about calling in. It is obvious the station can’t sustain the claim to talk radio. Perhaps people don’t trust the rhetoric of diversity emerging from its studios. Who can blame them. What happens to people in Zimbabwe who are too outspoken?
“The Zimpapers Talk Radio project was born out of the realisation that Zimbabwe was moving forward with the opening up of the airwaves and embracing all players to participate in this space,” Chimedza declared.
What space? Talk Radio was the only station licensed. Other applicants were told they shouldn’t bother.
Exactly how much freedom will be accorded to Star FM callers and presenters we wonder?
Chimedza said “the purpose of Star FM was to reignite the Zimbabwean spirit that has seen Zimbabwe championing education, agriculture, and sport among other achievements”.
So this is just the first week and the propaganda has started already. What about the decline of schools, the collapse of agricultural production, and the silencing of dissentient voices? What about Operation Murambatsvina and its trail of human misery? We hope callers will remind their audience that Star FM was a charade from the very outset.
We enjoyed Munyaradzi Huni’s interview with Julius Malema. The interview was conducted at Malema’s luxury town house in Sandton. So it didn’t take much to “track him down”.
Huni asked about the two nations of Thabo Mbeki’s 1998 speech. Did Malema see these two nations as surviving in parallel for ever?
There was no meeting point, Malema replied. The point that Mbeki was emphasising was that there were two economies in South Africa.
“I am here in Sandton but just across the road there is Alexandra,” he said. “It’s as if we are not in one country. Visible poverty, unemployment –– people without hope, children heading families because their parents have died because of other killer diseases…And when you cross the road you’ve got the rich, very wealthy people who own more than 2 000sq metres of land.”
That includes Malema. But the fact that he is one of these very rich people is lost on him. How did he get so rich so quickly?
He thinks he can trot out his populist mantras while remaining on the rich side of the street.
“I got myself accommodation here in Sandton because I was creditworthy,” he claimed, “and what made me creditworthy is because I earned a salary.”
He was prepared to be exploited by the banks, he said. In fact he earned more than he disclosed, he confessed. Now he wants somebody to define for him what a luxurious life is so it doesn’t look quite so contrasting. Again, he’s living a luxurious lifestyle but doesn’t acknowledge it.
His role models are Peter Mukaba (sic), Winnie Mandela, and Fidel Castro. Not the sort of people you would most like to be stuck in an elevator with! Be very careful if Winnie gets out her box of matches.
Huni asked some pertinent questions in the course of his interview. But just for the record, Mbeki borrowed his reference to the two nations –– the rich and the poor ––from Benjamin Disraeli’s Sybil.
Malema and Huni share the populist mantra that the South African judiciary and media are run by whites. That may have been true 10 years ago but is manifestly not true now. Has Huni heard of the new chief justice and his recent pronouncements? Is he aware of who owns Avusa (The Sunday Times, The Sowetan and other titles in the group)?
It’s a pity that Huni did not report Kgalema Motlanthe’s outstanding speech at the Harold Wolpe memorial dinner. It was a searing critique of President Jacob Zuma’s South Africa.
And on the subject of a non-racial society which Motlanthe bravely upholds, has Malema discovered yet where Kliptown is? It’s certainly nowhere near Cape Town! If he has no idea where the Freedom Charter was drawn up it might explain why he is so ignorant about Joe Slovo’s role in the struggle. Does he really not know what happened to Slovo’s wife?
The blind leading the blind would be a good heading for this particular interview.
Malema also accused Zuma of not being a neutral facilitator in the Zimbabwean crisis saying he has “very strong views” about President Mugabe and Zanu PF.
“All you see is very pretentious and it’s not helpful at all. I don’t think Zanu PF should buy into that,” Malema charged.
We were then perplexed by Malema’s equally pretentious claim that he had never been critical of President Mugabe.
“I have never been critical of President Mugabe. I said that President Mugabe has been president for a long time, but despite it all he has never succumbed to the pressure of the imperialists. He is exemplary, the leadership we need in Africa,” fawned Malema.
In 2010, at an ANC Youth League annual convention, Malema lambasted Mugabe and ageing ANC leaders for clinging on to power warning they could be removed at any time.
“Inasmuch as we support the revolutionary programme in Zimbabwe, President Mugabe must hand over to those young chaps so that we engage with (them) on the same level. We will never agree with permanent leadership,” Malema said.
“Permanent leaders or old horses refusing to leave are not welcome,” Malema declared.
This is clearly an inconvenient episode in Cde Malema’s illustrious career which would be best ignored.
We hope Zanu PF will also not buy into such a ruse.
Much has been said of late about the need for Bippas (Bilateral Promotion and Protection Agreements) to be negotiated to encourage investment.
But the decision this week to evict Chiredzi-based Mauritian farmer Marie Joseph Benoit Liagasse in terms of the Land Acquisition Act should send a loud and clear message to anybody thinking of bringing capital into Zimbabwe. The Land Acquisition Act superseded all bilateral agreements signed between Mauritius and Zimbabwe, he was told. His main failure, it would appear, was not to be in possession of an offer letter from the minister.
“Bilateral treaties are prerogatives of the executive”, NewsDay reported the court as ruling. “A treaty does not make part of domestic law except by virtue of an enabling legislation.”
So what is the point then of having a Bippa with Mauritius if its citizens have no protection from arbitrary confiscation of their property? This is precisely the sort of thing Sadc sought to have Zimbabwe avoid so the region could prosper. Not much chance of that!
ZBC reports that Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has told the European Union (EU) to respect the African Union (AU) by channelling their views on Zimbabwe through the continental body whose position on “illegal” sanctions is known.
Mutambara said this while lecturing the outgoing Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Anders Liden, who had made an ill-fated courtesy call to bid farewell after serving for two years.
“It’s time Europe, the European Union change their focus and emphasis on Zimbabwe from political diplomacy to combining political and economic diplomacy resulting in commercial diplomacy where European companies can invest in Zimbabwe on a win situation. Sanctions have to go first because they are hurting the ordinary Zimbabwe,” Mutambara said.
He said the Western countries who imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, including Sweden, should take into account the AU’s position which calls for the immediate removal of sanctions which are hurting the economy and ordinary people.
Mutambara has conveniently ignored EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia’s assertion that they would only lift the sanctions if electoral reforms agreed to under the GPA were implemented and non-violent elections were held.
Liden was “evasive in his answers and could not be drawn into saying more on the issue of illegal sanctions,” avers ZBC.
How clear can the EU get, we wonder?
Meanwhile ZRP Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has castigated politicians whom he says are bent on “tarnishing” the image of the police through “false” allegations.
He criticised politicians for issuing “reckless and false” statements blaming the police, describing such people as political failures who want to make the ZRP a scapegoat. Chihuri then called on local politicians to desist from venting their frustrations on law enforcers.
“Our loyalty to serve the people is mistaken as partisan by a section of politicians who make police punch bags for their failures and undermine our authority,” said Chihuri.
The only punch bags are peace-loving Zimbabweans exercising their right to assembly and association. As for “tarnishing” the image of the police Chihuri and company are quite good at doing that without any assistance.
In 2007 Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was beaten to within an inch of his life while activist, Gift Tandare, was shot dead by police after attending a rally under the auspices of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.
As if to add salt to the wound, the police in April denied Tsvangirai and members of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign permission to commemorate Tandare’s death claiming they would be busy with Independence Day celebrations.
As for the number of times the police have denied political parties permission to hold rallies, we have lost count. The usual pretext for denying them being that Zanu PF had either booked the venues or was holding its own rallies in close proximity to where parties wanted to assemble.
The police always seem to run out of manpower as soon as they are notified of the holding of a rally by any party which is not Zanu PF. Strangely they seem to be able to marshal this “manpower” for disrupting the rallies.