HomeCommentSoviet-style state media alive and well

Soviet-style state media alive and well

Zanu PF has made a “clean sweep” of councils across the country, the state media reports. This overturns MDC-T dominance it says.


But like everything else you read in the state media, this is only partly true. It likes to talk of a Zanu PF landslide without saying how it was achieved.

Yes, there was a landslide in Bulawayo for instance but Zanu PF lay buried underneath it. That includes both MPs and councillors.

Not much progress for the party there. Even its chief propagandist was rejected by voters who declined to swallow his claims.

What the over-zealous state media have failed to grasp in all this is the obvious point that what goes up must come down. Yes, Zanu PF has made inroads in MDC-T’s constituencies but it will just as easily lose them when voters realise they have been misled.

You can’t eat nationalist posturing or demagoguery. The more sophisticated voters become, the more likely they will be to exercise their own minds instead of somebody else’s.

In Harare the MDC-T may have lost council seats and MPs but hung on to its majority. Fewer people in the capital buy Zanu PF’s ignorant mantras. Like it or not, Harare remains MDC-T territory. Bulawayo is a no-go area for Zanu PF. They even won in Highfield, the cradle of nationalism. Every time President Mugabe turns up there to vote, his party loses. Taking along his family and rigging didn’t help either this year.

Come back strategy

The question now is what are they going to do with their majority? Quarrel among themselves as they did the last time or craft a policy that serves their constituents. The MDC-T in Harare and Bulawayo have a unique opportunity.

They can become a shop window of good governance, keeping their cities clean, efficient and attractive. Or they can indulge in Chombo-style populism and serve themselves. Corruption and ineptitude were major contributors to the party’s setbacks this year.

There is a template here. The Democratic Alliance in Cape Town has been in control since 2009 and provides an example of what good governance entails.

The city is clean and efficient and attracts investors and tourists. The ANC doesn’t like it but the best they can do is have their youth league throw faeces around the airport arrivals hall and on the steps of the provincial legislature.

It is called poo politics. They seem to think the strategy will win back voters.

Don’t try this one at home folks!

Terrible twins

Meanwhile, Zanu PF media hacks are running around with their tails up as if this was the first time they had won an election. “NGOs willing tools of subversion”, the Bindura University terrible twins declared with glee last week.

What sort of university is this? How can you have a partisan university where writers are willing tools of a malevolent state?
Can you imagine journalists whose sole mandate is to denounce Morgan Tsvangirai? Then we have Canadian “analysts” using Zimbabwe as a platform for their war with the West.

One of their number, Nile Bowie, did have something useful to contribute on Monday, however.

He quoted Saviour Kasukuwere as saying that food production was only at about 50% of capacity.

There was no doubt, Bowie said, that “major challenges need to be overcome before the land reforms can be seen as a viable policy for its neighbours to emulate”.

‘It’s all their fault’

Tendai Mugabe at the Herald published a picture of President Mugabe with his arm around Lindiwe Zulu at the Sadc summit. “At one point President Mugabe labelled her ‘some idiotic woman’ and the private media as usual went berserk with all sorts of dirty headlines,” he wrote.

“Mugabe torched a diplomatic row with South Africa,” screamed one of the headlines in Zimbabwe.

What an extraordinary distortion. Mugabe did indeed call her “some idiotic woman” but that was among the more polite of his comments. He castigated her as a street woman at one point.

Now Herald reporter Mugabe has the cheek to say it was “the private media as usual that went beserk with all sorts of dirty headlines”.
That is turning things on their head. It was the president who said it.
We simply reported it. Perhaps the Herald thinks we should have said nothing. But this is a great example of Soviet-style state media manipulation.

So much for ethics

Then there is racism rearing its ugly head despite the new constitution. “The problem with Ian Khama,” a letter to the Herald’s editor said this week, “is that he suffers from an identity crisis. He does not know whether he is black or white.”

Can you imagine a UK or US paper getting away with that sort of thing!

There is something rather worrying about the torrent of congratulations arriving on the president’s desk. What is the implication: that Zimbabwe can’t hold elections without violence? The sense of relief was palpable. International leaders have made reference to Zimbabwe’s peaceful elections in every dispatch and at every turn.

Zimbabwe’s official line is that the country has held peaceful elections since 1980. Obviously not a view shared by our friends!
In this connection, Zanu PF is attempting to draw satisfaction from Zimbabwe’s election to the deputy chairmanship of Sadc. In fact Zimbabwe was appointed on the basis of rotation. It did not “reaffirm the regional bloc’s confidence in President Mugabe”. This is called clutching at straws!

Next year Zimbabwe, which a few years ago was barred from hosting a Sadc summit later taken to Tanzania, will assume the chairmanship and there will be nothing exceptional about that.
But you can bet the Herald will tell us this is more icing on the cake!


There was some rather silly editorial desperation to justify President Mugabe’s embarrassingly long stay in power as the only regional leader “cut from the fabric of the founding fathers”, a reference to the original Sadcc.

We wonder if the regional heads assembled in Lilongwe are aware they are being used for crude propaganda purposes. As the Herald is so anxious to blow its own trumpet, it might be worth recalling the steps South Africa and other members had to take to prise Sadc from the clutches of Zimbabwe’s rulers who thought the chairmanship was a permanent post.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s boasting of regional rehabilitation is bound to create problems for other regional states who while happy to indulge Harare in the short-term will be less willing to sacrifice their good relations with the European Union and United States in the long-term.

The Sadc leaders will be congratulating themselves on a problem buried only to discover Zimbabwe’s rulers have no intention of letting go of such a valuable prop, however costly!

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