in Opinion / on December 26, 2013 at 6:44 am /
It never rains but pours in my beloved country as the people try to come to terms with the post-election reality marred by the liquidity crunch which has forced the closure of several banks as the moribund economy doesn’t show any signs of recovery.
The ugly face of unemployment doesn’t go away and in such a gloomy environment, the last person the private media would dare to dine with is Professor Jonathan Moyo [Zimbabwe’s Minister of Information] for he is known more for his acid tongue than anything else. Anyway don’t miracles happen?
In a conciliatory gesture, much to the astonishment of even his enemies, the honourable professor dared to touch the nerve of the ZBC by firing its entire board of directors before extending an olive branch to his once nemesis, the private media in a conciliatory gesture.
As if that was not enough, the born-again minister wielded his axe on Happison Muchechetere [ZBC Chief Executive] to be followed by the suspension of the overzealous Caesar Zvayi [Herald editor] in a crusade to clean up the dysfunctional state broadcaster.
To cement that charm offensive, and prove his ‘seriousness’, the minister did not appoint Reuben Barwe, a known Zanu PF fanatic to the team, but of all people, Geoff Nyarota was made the chairperson of the team to be deputised by Thembe Khumalo from the private media to be followed by Dumisani Muleya [Zimbabwe Independent editor], Stanley Gama [Daily News editor], Pikirai Deketeke [Zimpapers editor –in- chief], Constantine Chimakure [former NewsDay editor], Foster Dongozi [Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary general], AMH Publisher [Rita Chinyoka] and other figures of reasonable character.
While Moyo’s gesture is a welcome development, its significance should not be overemphasised since by doing so, it’s suicidal. Has the honourable minister acknowledged his part let alone apologise to the media fraternity for stifling its operations in the past especially the Daily News? Has the minister renounced AIPPA and POSA for any of the team members including Geoff Nyarota, Dumisani Muleya and Stanley Gama to accept his olive branch?
Readers should be reminded that since independence, President Robert Mugabe set up several commissions which gobbled millions of dollars whose findings were never made public up to now. There was the Chihambakwe, Sandura, Dumbutshena, and the Chidyausiku commissions to be followed by the infamous VIP Housing investigations and out of all these, it’s only the Sandura Commission whose findings were made public resulting in the resignation of Enos Nkala and Maurice Nyagumbo.
As for the rest, their findings are still wrapped under the carpet and may not see the light. Are some of those implicated in the VIP housing scheme and other scandals not in cabinet today? Do we get any wiser as a people by spending a fortune in commissions whose findings never see the light or these inquiries are set for the sake of it since someone in government once heard about them from other countries like Britain or the USA?
With due respect, are Geoff Nyarota, Dumisani Muleya and Stanley Gama of the opinion that Moyo will respect their contributions and implement the findings of the enquiry since as we all know Zanu PF can’t thrive without AIPPA and POSA? By implementing the findings of the probe which will definitely hit at Zanu PF’s marrow, wouldn’t that be self-defeating and contradictory for the honourable professor who is the architect of both AIPPA and POSA?
For, how can the minister be laughing and mourning at the same time? By agreeing to be part of the probe team whose findings may never be implemented, the team members are as complicit in the country’s plunder as the minister himself. At best what they can achieve is to line their pockets at the expense of the ordinary people who get poorer through these misguided policies.
Happison Muchechetere was suspended not because Jonathan Moyo is eager to clean up the mess at ZBC, but because the former had become so incompetent, greedy, and selfish to the extent of rendering the Zanu PF propaganda machinery dysfunctional to serve its purpose as a fighting tool against the opposition and the international community. In the same way, Caesar Zvayi got the chop because he was caught up in the Zanu PF factional fight and nothing else.
Who in their right minds would have thought that the overzealous editor would have met his fate for insulting Morgan Richard Tsvangirai? In the same token , the idea behind roping in Geoff Nyarota, Dumisani Muleya, Stanley Gama, Constantine Chimakure, Foster Dongozi and others is an attempt to appease and silence them let alone swallow the opposition as their inclusion in the probe team is to give them a false sense of ownership of the process and its outcome but unfortunately can’t influence its implementation. In fact, theirs is an effort in futility and a sheer waste of national resources.
Is it mere coincidence that these developments come high on the heels of the appearance of several senior media executives from both the private and public media houses and of all people, Trevor Ncube, standing side by side with high ranking Zimbabwe Defence Forces officials, denouncing sanctions? In his own words, Trevor Ncube, Alpha Media Holdings Chairperson fumed, ‘sanctions have not been helpful, they are working against businesses, the assumption being that they should be scrapped unconditionally.
Why shouldn’t Ncube, in the same spirit reason with Mugabe to bring with him something at the negotiating table as a bargain for the removal of these punitive measures? Didn’t the Iranians do the same thing before striking a deal with the international community recently? Everyone knows that sanctions hurt not only their target but the innocent people as well and that was the same experience during the Smith era when the rogue regime was slapped with these punitive measures. The question is how to live with them or to get them removed and surely, rigging elections with the help of Nikuv is not one of the clever ways neither is crying on top of one’s voice.
Zimbabweans should not be fooled by Jonathan Moyo for he is still the acid tongued former Tsholotsho legislator who is known more for spewing bile than anything else. Has ZBC started covering opposition rallies, let alone portray them in a more positive image than before? What happened to Webster Shamu for presiding over a broadcaster which can’t pay all her workers for six months when Happison Muchechetere, its Chief Executive officer gets paid nearly US$50 000 a month?
The country is on her knees not because of sanctions as Trevor Ncube or other Zanu PF apologists would like us to believe but due to incompetence, greed, selfishness, corruption and a leadership vacuum. Happison Muchechetere’s case at ZBC is the tip of the ice berg and the practice is rampant across all state run institutions and that has been happening since 1980. As usual, Mugabe will rant his sanctions rhetoric in public but protect Shamu and Muchechetere.
Ordinary Zimbabweans should know what bites them before they listen to Moyo’s charm for failure to do so is catastrophic and the sooner the better before they are able to know how to dry themselves. Indeed, uglier times lie ahead until the underlying rot is scrapped and this media probe is an effort in futility. When you dance with a porcupine make sure that you put on metal armour.