Will the real sneaks please stand up?

Muckraker has warned that there are external pressures being brought to bear at the Herald and Sunday Mail that prevent them from carrying major news items or see those items manipulated to suit Zanu PF’s electoral needs.

By the MuckRacker

A good example was evident on Monday. Herald political editor Hebert Zharare repeated the tired myth that US sanctions were signed into law “as punishment for government’s decision to acquire white-held farms for resettlement”.

In fact they were drafted in response to electoral violence and manipulation. The Americans had no objection to land redistribution.
Why should they?

Putting a damper

Over the weekend the Herald told us what a “damp squib” Morgan Tsvangirai’s regional tour had been.

On Monday the Daily News carried a story in which Ivory Coast prime minister Daniel Kablan Duncan warned Zimbabwe should not be allowed to replicate his country’s electoral dispute which sparked a four-month civil war.

Tsvangirai urged the Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas) to ensure the environment in Zimbabwe was conducive to the holding of free and fair elections. Ivory Coast is currently chair of Ecowas.

Tsvangirai emphasised the need to implement all outstanding reforms under the GPA including public media reforms.

Now we can see why. Those feeding the public press are dishonestly omitting and manipulating election-related stories.
Between the lines

The main reason they are denouncing Tsvangirai’s tour is the discovery the African Union, Sadc and Ecowas are speaking with one voice on the Zimbabwe crisis.

It must be very annoying for the former ruling party. So how does it respond? The Herald puts the Gupta story in a prominent position.

President Jacob Zuma was among those giving Tsvangirai a warm welcome. It was always said of Izvestia in the Soviet Union that analysts needed to read between the lines to find out what was really going on.

However tempting it may be to gloat over Zuma’s discomfort, the Gupta story has a dimension for us as well as South Africa: this is what happens when power is abused.

Zharare by the way told us Tsvangirai “sneaked back home after (his) damp squib tour”.
Who is the sneak here? Journalists who parrot the regime’s mantras or prime ministers who insist free and fair elections?
An inconvenient truth

By far the most interesting story for both our media and the international press was the revelation by Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott who told the Guardian that Mugabe really wanted to go.

We had a hint of this at the Independence Day celebrations but here was confirmation in all its glory. Mugabe was an Englishman, Scott declared, and he wanted to step down and retire. To the Home counties we assume?

“I think if you asked him he would say it was enough,” Scott told the Guardian. That’s what he said to us a few months ago. I said the way forward in African democracy is the way we do it in Zambia.”

“He said ‘I absolutely agree. I wish it would happen to me’.”
Asked if that meant losing an election, he said “Yes, and a smooth handover.”

“I think he meant it or he was toying with the idea of meaning it,” Scott said.

“He’s a funny chap,” Scott continued. “He seems to doze off and then he suddenly laughs at a joke in the middle of dozing. And very articulate, without a note, without a scrap of anything.”
You can see now why the Herald omitted this story. It is entirely credible given what he said at the National Sports Stadium. And given his published liking for Scott it would be difficult to repudiate.
Zanu PF is in a fix here. How can they fight an election led by a leader who would rather not be contesting?

The First Zoo

Has the Amai Grace School and Children’s Home in Mazowe become a zoo, a reader wanted to know? Everybody is required to see the children. They are paraded for the benefit of VIP visitors and television cameras.
The Malawi head of state was taken out to Mazowe as was a visiting sheikh. This week it was the turn of the wives of intelligence bosses. Don’t the children get any peace? Don’t they have rights, our reader asked?
Muckraker thinks we must respect the rights of children.
After the CIO bosses’ tour, Amai Mugabe complained that Zimbabwe continued to get negative media publicity “when the situation was different on the ground”.
Is it any different?
Two of our journalists were arrested this week for publishing a story “prejudicial to the state”. Did Amai Mugabe tell the visiting wives the circumstances in which she acquired the land for the school and Gushungo dairy?
What happened to the elderly couple that were dispossessed to make room for her scheme?
We were interested to note the wife of the Nigerian head of security holding forth on such an “impressive” scheme.
She didn’t say that Zimbabwean commercial farmers were in Nigeria providing fresh dairy products which her country had been unable to provide itself.

Shamu at it again!

Meanwhile Webster Shamu chose the wrong occasion to gloat over Zanu PF’s credentials.

Zanu PF emphasises on “tried and tested leadership”, Shamu declared as he had to deal with the issue of Zanu PF Manicaland chairman Mike Madiro and his deputy Dorothy Mabika who face stock theft charges after they allegedly stole 10 beasts meant as donations for the 21st February Movement.

“Zimbabweans now understand the difference between MDC and Zanu PF, as the former has reflected its true colours with corruption in all local authorities they dominate,” Shamu added despite leaders from his own party being accused of corruption.
As if Shamu’s utterances were not ironic and damning enough, he went on to blame the suffering Zimbabweans have gone through to “illegal” sanctions.

The reason for our suffering is pretty clear from where we are standing!

Govt on the prowl

Another year, another Hifa. This is one of Zimbabwe’s finest products the intelligence bosses’ wives didn’t see.

Muckraker’s favourite was the giant puppets, one looking suspiciously like our esteemed leader.

The trouble is Zimbabwe’s officialdom see the week-long show as an opportunity to fleece foreigners. The owners of the puppets and other foreign artistes were told they should obtain a work permit which would cost Hifa a total of US$20 000.

They fought Zimra all the way but in the end, exhausted, they gave in. Two days later they got a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It excused them from obtaining a work permit. Do you think they got their money back?