Tsvangirai Urges Ban Ki Moon To Ignore Mugabe’s Threat To Mobilise AU Withdrawal From UN


Morgan Tsvangirai Opposition MDC-T leader has urged United Nations (UN) secretary general Ban Ki Moon to ignore President Robert Mugabe’s recent threat to mobilize African Union (AU) members to pull out of the world body.

Tsvangirai in a belated response top Mugabe’s threat at the AU summit earlier this month, last week wrote to the UN boss, arguing Zimbabweans would want to be part of the international body and its affiliate agencies. -Source-News Day

Opposition Scoff At Zanu PF’s Rain Making Prayer Ceremonies

Opposition parties yesterday scoffed at Zanu-PF-organised rain-making prayer sessions saying the ruling party’s top brass should repent from its “evil deeds” before seeking divine intervention on rains.

This came after Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko last week called on Zimbabweans to organise specific prayer meetings for the rains between Saturday and next Sunday as part of efforts to avert massive food shortages caused by erratic rains this year.

But, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said the same government should also pray for abducted activist Itai Dzamara’s safe return if they were sincere.source-newsday

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Statement On ‘Zimbabwe’s Unity Day’


Celebrating ‘Unity Day’ is Celebrating Genocide: PDP It is with a profound sense of patriotism and a deep sense of duty that on behalf of my party; the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), I make the following remarks on the occasion of Zimbabwe’s ‘Unity Day’:

It has been 28 years now since the Unity Accord was signed between the leaders of PF ZAPU and ZANU PF. Yet no full disclosure has been made of who did what and why. In fact Robert Mugabe and his lieutenants in ZANU PF have stubbornly refused to release the findings of the Chihambakwe and Dumbutshena Commissions on the activities of the 5th Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces.

For the record, over 20 000 innocent lives were lost while thousands of others were maimed, raped and tortured in the hands of Mugabe’s private army-the 5th Brigade. Without official admission, full disclosure, and reparations, the annual ritual of commemorating the Unity Accord has become more and more meaningless to the generality of Zimbabweans and infuriating to the survivors of the Robert Mugabe inspired ideology of Gukurahundism.

Contrary to the pretensions of Mugabe’s pan-African pedigree, the killings, maimings, rapings and torturings of thousands of innocent black Zimbabweans were instigated by the abduction and subsequent killing of six Western tourists in Lupane in 1982.

It is difficult to understand the psychology and intention of a black government which could slaughter so many of its own citizens in search of six white visitors. Clearly, ZANU PF and Mugabe operate within a law of contradiction. They sing hallelluyah to African pedigree during the day but shout crucify it during the night.

They also shout crucify the white stock during the day and then sing the hallelluyah chorus to white supremacy at night while dreaming dollars. PDP holds Robert Mugabe and his associates in ZANU PF responsible for the genocide in Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces in the 1980s in as much as they are responsible for the victims of election related violence of the 2000s. Unity Accord remains a questionable project.

Evidently, it is a very important date in the calendar of ZANU PF since it signifies its victory over PF ZAPU as a nationalist opposition party and the appropriation of the most revered nationalist icon Joshua Nkomo. Both PF ZAPU and Joshua Nkomo represented a sociopolitical reality that did not derive its ontological density from Mugabe’s patronage or his patriotic historical narrative.

Instead, PF ZAPU under Joshua Nkomo was a liberation movement of international stature. It dwarfed both Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF even when wearing their stolen palace gowns. Robert Mugabe had to marshal state power in his bid to crush ZAPU and to get himself affirmed. In this sense, ‘Unity Day’ is nothing but a celebration of individual affirmation and a cynical way of celebrating genocide.

Celebrating Unity Day is Celebrating Genocide. All peoples of conscience should ask themselves uncomfortable questions about this abomination that is veiled as virtue.

The ZANU PF Gukurahundi ideology which inspired genocide in Matabeleland and Midlands is still alive and active today. The rest of the people of Zimbabwe are now enduring various forms of Gukurahundi such as destruction of their homes and disappearance of their loved ones who dare to speak against ZANU PF misrule.

Moreover, the regions which were meant to be integrated (through the Unity Accord) to the rest of the country after a decade of underdevelopment and social upheaval have become more alienated. For instance, Bulawayo, the citadel of resistance against ZANU PF rule continues to be punished by Government which practically sponsors disinvestment from that city.

Again, 28 years after the signing of the ‘Unity Accord’, some indigenous Zimbabwean languages are banned from being used in the legislature by tribal ZANU PF stewards in charge of the two houses of parliament. The military, which was used to deal a genocidal blow to the opposition PF ZAPU supporters in the 1980s, is still being used today to intimidate and browbeat the opposition supporters and their leadership.

Today, it’s more than 200 days since journalist Itai Dzamara was abducted. Like thousands of the 1980s Gukurahundi victims whose graves are still unknown, Dzamara’s family misses him. They need answers; they need closure. But how do they achieve closure when they don’t know where their loved one is or if he still lives?

Like Rashiwe Guzha in the 1990s, Dzamara’s family wants to know how they should proceed in terms of their lives without him. Like Patrick Nabanyama’s family in 2000, Dzamara’s family is confused and traumatized. They need answers and President Robert Gabriel Mugabe as the Head of State and Government as well as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces, should provide answers on the whereabouts of Dzamara and all the other people who have mysteriously disappeared in Zimbabwe under his captaincy.

The nation needs closure to this dark chapter of its history. Silence on the Gukurahundi issue has encouraged the perpetrators to continue to violate human rights in Zimbabwe with impunity. The sooner we make peace with that episode of our history the better for our national stability, reconciliation, unity and democracy.

PDP believes that for true unity to prevail in Zimbabwe there must be a truth process and reparations of victims of Gukurahundi ideology of 1980s and the victims of the 3rd Chimurenga policy of the 2000s. PDP also believes that the human rights record of Robert Mugabe and his lieutenants in ZANU PF is one of the reasons why they cannot countenance life outside government.

The Gukurahundi episode is the most singular reason why Mugabe remains stuck in the state house in spite of his dotage. It accounts for his long distance rulership, stayism and sit-tightism. But Mugabe should know that history is a ruthless judge, it doesn’t forget neither does it forgive those that try to undermine it.

As long as there is no closure through truth telling and reparations, history will torture all perpetrators and haunt them even in their graves- they will never find rest. In short, Robert Mugabe should do this nation a ‘favour’, that is, resign and leave the nation to heal from postcolonial wounds inflicted by his leadership.

We urge Robert Mugabe to urgently abdicate as Head of State and Government and save Zimbabwe from sinking into further chaos. He should take full responsibility of the past and current national tragedy and resign to allow a National Transitional Authority (NTA) to take over the business of governing the country whilst the nation prepares for the next elections on a level playing field.

On the other hand, the progressive opposition political society should come together as equal partners and forge a Grand Coalition that will work together towards political and electoral reforms. This consolidated body of opposition to act as a surety against electoral fraud, electoral manipulation, electoral corruption and electoral malfeasance.

Coalitional politics is the future of Zimbabwe. The parties should coalesce on the basis of values and principles and not personalities and positions. The Unity Accord of ZANU PF and PF ZAPU has failed simply because it was about political positions and not about public accountability. Dr Gorden Moyo Secretary General of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) 21 December, 2015.

photo-nehandaradio- Dr Gorden Moyo Secretary General of People’s Democratic Party (PDP)

The Majority Of Zimbabweans Are Suffering From Poverty, Disease, Unemployment And Homelessness’-Welshman Ncube

One of the most distinct features that differentiates MDC from all other political parties in Zimbabwe – save for one or two – is our refusal to use violence as a means of achieving political objectives. You might argue all you like that this has cost us millions of votes, but MDC is adamant that violence – among other repulsive evils like bribery, corruption, tribalism and vote-buying – must remain forever banished from our book of strategy.

I write this with a heavy heart that in the past few weeks, Zimbabweans and the world have been reminded how politics still remains an arena of violent conflict. The world is in mourning after alleged Islamic State sympathisers murdered 129 innocent citizens in a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, France this past weekend.  Only a few weeks ago, a Metrojet Airbus A321 plane from Egypt’s popular Sharm el-Sheikh resort heading to St Petersburg, Russia crashed and killed 224 passengers in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Again, fingers have been pointing to the ISIS.

This past weekend Zimbabweans woke up to news that a man identified as Proud Mupambwa was arrested for the gruesome murder of Lloyd Jamawo and Marko Masenda in Manyame Park, Chitungwiza in what appears to be a case of resurgent ZANU PF- instigated political violence. This was a few days after scores of MDC-Tsvangirai youth activists had been arrested after violent confrontations with Zimbabwe Republic Police.

Let me set the record straight. In more cases than one, we Africans have had to resort to violence in order to extricate ourselves from the shackles of colonialism, only because people like Ian Smith refused to consider the option of peaceful negotiations. However, for us Zimbabweans, thirty five years after we restored political sanity to our lives, there are elements within the ruling party ZANU PF still afflicted by residual demons of violence. This has not only tarnished our democracy, but also resulted in millions of innocent Zimbabweans being displaced internally and externally, failing to configure their lives in a trajectory of peace, development and wealth creation.

My party MDC has diligently participated in almost all elections since year 2000 despite immense odds staked against us. In 2005, we decided to embark on a course of ‘separate development’ after our colleagues started exhibiting characteristics of the enemies of peace as well as brazenly acting against the tenets of collective decision making that we so much cherish as a party. But our joy was short-lived in that we thought ZANU PF had learned from its errors of the past. Our presence in the ‘negotiated’ process of the September 2008 coalition agreement was proof that given a chance of ‘peaceful co-existence’, the MDC can achieve great things.  All you need to consider is the collective sterling performance of the ministerial MDC deployees in the Inclusive government who included David Coltart, Moses Mzila, Priscila Misihairabwi Mushonga, Robert Makula and Lutho Addington Tapela. You cannot also ignore the MDC’s role in restoring constitutional sanity when thousands of our party members and scores of Members of Parliament toiled day and night in COPAC meetings that eventually ushered in Zimbabwe’s new constitution in 2013.

Therefore, as time limps slowly towards 2018, I can already sense some vibrations caused by individuals jostling for the proverbial front row in Zimbabwe’s politics. As noted above, those that are in and desperate for power – even according to the latest Zimbabwe Peace Project report – have begun to stalk the fires of instability. The ‘traditional forces’ of greed, selfishness, hate and vengeance are already exposing their deadly fangs. These Agents of Lucifer have no interest of people at heart. The majority of Zimbabweans are suffering from poverty, disease, unemployment and homelessness. What Zimbabweans seek are political parties and leaders who inspire solutions not based on property expropriation, demagoguery, false promises, charisma and vote buying, but sustainable, human friendly strategies. Simply put, we do not deserve to be and are tired of suffering. This is why year 2008 will forever remain etched in my mind.

ZANU PF – one of the culprits in the cycle of violence, deceit and false promises – has completely failed to learn from the past. They pretend that everything is business as usual. Perhaps also the fault lies in us Zimbabweans. In 2007-2008, we went through a period of unprecedented pain and suffering. Because of ZANU PF’s insatiable hunger only for political power, their policies emptied shops of consumable commodities. I distinctly remember my party members carrying ‘millions’ in worthless paper currency printed by ZANU PF apologist Gideon Gono. Thousands of citizens survived from buying bread and rice from Nyamapanda, Victoria Falls, Beira, Francistown and Musina. For those supermarkets that remained open, one would find shelves full only of bottled water and toilet paper.

Those that survived did only because of relatives in the Diaspora who sent them money to ‘burn’ in illegal currency deals, because commercial banks had nothing to offer. I distinctly remember my cousins going to boarding school under instruction from school authorities to bring cooking oil, salt, sugar and maize meal as ‘proof of admission’. While ZANU PF cronies travelled the world accumulating allowances and dealing in Chiadzwa diamonds, villagers in Kezi and Murewa starved to death. I have heard sad stories of pregnant women dying from eating chakata / umkhuna and some exchanging whole cattle beasts for a mere sack of maize.

Economists say that at that time, Zimbabwe broke inflationary records of up to one million percent. Thousands of professionals – ZESA engineers, secondary school teachers, doctors and nurses sought refuge abroad as public services ground to a halt. In Harare, mountains of uncollected garbage were a familiar sight as municipal authorities ran out of money to service vehicles. Both the water and waste management systems totally collapsed, resulting in disease outbreaks as millions of citizens failed to travel home due to lack of fuel in service stations. That indeed was the year that universities failed to look after students and requested them to stay off campus or bring their own food.

Amidst this economic turmoil, ZANU PF insisted on making elections so violent in 2008 that even the usually reserved SADC deployed the then President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to call for a negotiated Government of National Unity. There are some today – even in our opposition ranks – who insist that our tenure in that government achieved nothing other than ‘aiding’ ZANU PF to redeem its rule of arrogance. They say that had we left the situation to implode, there could have been a revolution to usher a new era of governance. I do not agree, but then we will never know.

Let me conclude with a kind warning. We are almost three years past our last 2013 elections and heading towards 2018. There are no signs that the ZANU PF that put us through the horrors of 2008 has changed at all. In fact, they have become more vicious, at most cannibalizing each other and expropriating more private property. Opposition parties are shouting their voices hoarse for Vice President and Minister ‘responsible’ for Justice, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to speed up electoral reform. The same people that were responsible for the disputed 2013 elections – Justice Rita Makarau, Joyce Kazembe and Tobaiwa Mudede – are still prominent members of electoral institutions.  The Zimbabwe Election Support Network is on the people’s side, arguing day and night for the implementation of the agreed electoral reforms – but the ruling party, boasting of its ‘tyranny of numbers’ in Parliament, continues to pay lip service to constitutionalism. Let me warn Zimbabweans to learn from history by not entertaining any thoughts of voting for ZANU PF in 2018. They must join us, the MDC, in calling for unconditional implementation of electoral reforms.By Welshman Ncube

Matobo Man shot And killed A Fellow Robber In South Africa, Then Fled To Zimbabwe With The Loot.


A 26-YEAR-OLD Matobo man allegedly shot and killed his fellow robber in South Africa before fleeing to Zimbabwe with the loot.

Welcome Ncube, 26, of Sigangatsha village who has been in remand prison since May last year, allegedly teamed up with fellow villager Prosper Ndebele whose age was not given and went on a robbery spree in South Africa.

The duo allegedly got away with large amounts of money and Ncube later allegedly shot and killed Ndebele. He then fled to Zimbabwe with the loot.

Ncube is said to have sought refuge at his grandmother’s homestead in Sun Yet Sen in Matobo which is far from his parents’ homestead as his family are neighbours to Ndebele’s family.

Police later received information that Ncube was hiding after allegedly committing the murder in the neighbouring country leading to his arrest.

On Monday Ncube appeared before Matabeleland South Provincial magistrate-in-charge Willard Maphios Moyo who further remanded him in custody to November 23.

Prosecutor Takunda Mafudze told the court that Ncube who is facing murder charges, will be referred to the High Court for trial. Police sources however said Ncube was likely to be extradited to South Africa where the crime was committed.

According to a police Request for Remand document, Ncube was arrested on May 22, last year for killing Ndebele in Hillbrow, South Africa.

“On May 18, 2014 at Hillbrow, in the Republic of South Africa, the accused shot and killed Prosper Ndebele and ran away to Zimbabwe soon after committing the offence,” read the police document.

According to the document, Ncube could not be released as he was said to be a flight risk as he ran away after committing the crime in the neighbouring country.

It was also stated that due to the gravity of the offence, his life would be in danger as he resides close to his victim’s relatives.

Ncube is being held at Gwanda Prison where he was admitted on May 27, last year, according to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) spokesperson for Matabeleland region, Senior Prison Officer Bothwell Bosha. He has been appearing in court fortnightly on routine remand.

Contacted for a comment on the matter, Matabeleland South acting provincial police spokesperson Sergeant Thabani Mkwananzi referred all questions to national spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi who was not reachable.

The perception most Zimbabweans living in South Africa have is that South African police hardly make any follow ups on murder cases when foreigners are the victims. by Marvelous Moyo . Source: chronicle

‘The Decay Of Local Football At The Mother Body Zifa, And Collapse Perfectly Mirrors Bad National Governance’-Welshman Ncube

MDC president Professor Welshman Ncube has bemoaned the decay of local football at the mother body Zifa saying the collapse perfectly mirrors bad national governance.

Writing in his weekly diary, Ncube said   the Zifa presidential race just like “a decaying carcass of a wild animal – it attracts vultures who want nothing less than financial self-aggrandisement”.

Four candidates have filed their nomination papers for the ZIFA presidential elections ahead of the vetting process as the local soccer mother body gears up for the December 5 elections.

The four are former chairman of Harare City FC, Leslie Gwindi, businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, 1984 Soccer-star-of-the-year James Takavada and former ZIFA boss Trevor Carlisle Juul.

Said Ncube ” I miss the ‘good old days’ of the exciting rivalry between ‘Mashonaland United’ (Zimbabwe Saints) and ‘Matabeleland Highlanders’ (Highlanders FC).

“The heady days of Majuta ‘Jujuju’ Mpofu, Peter Nyama, Tendai Chieza, Gibson Homela, Andrew Kadengu, Tymon Mabaleka, Bruce ‘Jungleman’ Grobbelaar and Moses Bambo Chunga.

“These are the men who brought pride, dignity and stature to the game. And this was not by coincidence. They played for the love of it, backed by superb administrative skills in the likes of Nelson Chirwa, Job Kadengu, Kennedy Sibanda and John Madzima.

” Big corporates in the tobacco and beer sectors poured thousands of dollars into the game and the only thing that deprived our country from showing off our talent on the global stage was bad politics.

To imagine that as late as the late 1980s and mid 1990s, our soccer still had a semblance of respectability, because that is the Peter, Madinda and Adam Ndlovu era; when stylists like Joel ‘Jubilee’ Shambo, Stanley Ndunduma, Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo and Eddie “Twinkle Toes” Katswere ruled the roost. Was it not Reinhard Fabisch’s ‘Dream Team’ that packed the Chinese-built national sports stadium to the brim with frenzied, patriotic supporters? So what went wrong?

“I do not have ready answers to this paradox, but what I know is that in most countries where soccer thrives – at club or national level – national government has a semblance of stability. There is no doubt in my mind that it will take a couple of decades before Somalia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe make it to the soccer world cup.

“The health of a national team is a mirror image of central governance. When a country’s economy is healthy, corporates produce enough resources to support the game that attracts a huge chunk of target customers.

“A national culture of corruption, greed and administrative hooliganism also permeates to the very roots of soccer governance. This is why at one time our cricket assumed ‘test status’ character, because the administrators invested in integrity, credibility and reputation of the game. I am not so sure now”.

Ncube said when the game stinks – like a decaying carcass of a wild animal – it attracts vultures who want nothing less than financial self-aggrandisement.

“That explains why Dynamos and Highlanders cannot retain quality players, only acting as breeding grounds for predatory South African soccer scouts. For several decades, we have watched ZIFA slide into intractable mediocrity with people like Cuthbert Dube at the helm. They have nothing other than debts and insolvency to show for their tenure. Qualifying for the world cup is hard enough, but owing coaches money and being thrown out of world tourneys digs bigger graves for the game. Junior football – at both club and national level is dead because the men at the top either have no clue or do not comprehend its import. What this means is that the thousands of young boys and girls who have horned their soccer skills in preparation for the bigger stage are left with no outlet to express their talent. Tragic.

“Of late, we hear positions in ZIFA are up for grabs. Just like in our game of politics, the quality of democracy defines the nature of candidates vying for presidential positions. In marketing, we know that when the barriers to entry are high, it is only investors with deep, resource-bound pockets that attempt to take on the market. The very reason why ‘everybody’ has a kombi is that it is easier to register a bus than it is for an airline. For the same reason, the fact that ‘everybody’ wants to have a go at ZIFA presidency means that its standards of entry, its delivery milestones are low. Had it been that previous ‘regimes’ had set a high standard of performance-based delivery, it is only the brave and the able who would attempt to fill their boots.”.Source: Byo24News


Court Told That ‘Godfather’ Robert Martin Gumbura Employed Two Personal Guards And A Secretary In Jail


A YEAR after he was jailed 40 years for rape, disgraced cleric Robert Martin Gumbura employed two body guards and a secretary in prison, a Harare court heard Friday.

Testifying against Chikurubi inmates accused of inciting a food riot early this year, chief state witness Claudius Mutizwa also told court that Gumbura owned a large “base” in B Hall cell where other inmates would be “piled on top of each other” for lack of space.

Gumbura, 59, and several accomplices are being charged with masterminding a food riot in a bid to escape from lawful custody.

“He owned the largest base and had two body guards and a secretary, David Mwanjira, who recorded everything that was going on in prison,” he said.

Mutizwa, a former detective constable, told the court that Mwanjira was his best friend.

He also revealed that Gumbura smuggled 960 bricks of cigarettes and four boxes of pizza with the help of his wives.

He told the court that he assisted Mwanjira to record Gumbura’s belongings including cigarettes, further revealing that he personally kept 3 sacks of cigarettes for the shamed pastor in the prison library.

Continuing, Mutizwa insisted that Gumbura was one of the chief architects of the riot.

“He (Gumbura) came to me on 11 February and asked me if I was happy with the type of food we were getting.

“He said we were cowards and went on to say that if it was in South Africa prisoners would have broken prison walls over this.

“He approached me again the following day and was in company of his bodyguards and secretary.”

During his last appearance, Mutizwa also told court that the former cleric was a “prison Godfather” supplying food to both inmates and officers.

This made the cleric popular with prisoners as well as officers, court heard.

Gumbura and his accomplices are also accused of beating up law officers and damaging property at the country’s largest prison on the fateful day.

They are all denying the charges and claim that the riot was triggered by Zanu PF factionalism.

The trial continues Friday with Mutizwa taking to the witness stand again. source-newzimbabwe


‘Qhubani Moyo Betrayed Matabeleland By leaving MDC For Zanu PF’-Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF)

Mthwakazi Liberation Front Secretary for International Relations Crispen Nyoni has blasted the former MDC official Qhubani Moyo for allegedly betraying the people of Matabeleland by dumping the party with his people’s aspirations to join Zanu PF just for his personal glory.
Moyo resigned from the MDC and joined Zanu PF a development which led him to be appointed as one of the Electoral Commissioners.

“The prodigal son,decided to prostitute for his supper! Like the Biblical Judas Iscariot, Enos Nkala and Dr Calistus Ndlovu among other known egocentricised political charlatans,chose self uplifting (through Zanu PF known engrained corrupt and lovesh lifestyles)at the expense of the people of Matebeleland,” said Nyoni in reference to Moyo.

“Some persons,when thought they would be part of a grand strategy apparatus in Mthwakazi politics,tend to sell out for personal glory when they must be an asset to radically change the politics in favour of Matebeleland /Mthwakazi He elevated himself to the rubbish in the eyes of the people of Matebeleland /Mthwakazi that is without an iota of doubt.”

Moyo has been posting pictures of himself while in other countries a development which many view as his glorifying of the chance that he availed himself to by choosing to belong to Zanu PF instead of remaining fighting for the cause of his people.

Nyoni’s remarks came after Moyo came out in the Herald claiming that people of Matabeleland were still stuck in the politics of vengeance instead of availing themselves to the chances that present themselves like it happened to him. by Stephen Jakes
Source: Byo24News

‘My Government Will Encourage Expanded Media Circulation To Ensure That All Forms Of Media Are Affordable To All Sections Of Society In Particular Rural Communities’ Access &Participation’-Welshman Ncube



In my more than two decades in academia and as a politician, I have heard again and again the often repeated assertion that the bond of any professional and ethical media practitioner is the maxim, “Facts are sacrosanct and opinion is free”, and with equal measure I have heard it repeated by rogue states and politicians that, “You are free to express yourself, but you cannot be guaranteed your freedom after expression”. In Zimbabwe during the same period, many newspapers have been closed as journalists were jailed or exiled due to excessive State-instigated force. Again in the same period, many laws, regulations and policy positions meant to restrict the freedom of media and expression were passed, gazetted and promulgated by the ruling party, Zanu-PF.

It is not an exaggeration – actually, there is empirical evidence that Zimbabweans selectively write and say political opinion for public consumption. There is a great deal more dialogue in the public domain about British and Spanish soccer than there is on poverty, political oppression and rural famine. Just like during the reign of terror in Malawi perpetrated by Kamuzu Banda’s “young pioneers”, Zimbabweans speak in hushed tones and whispers when politics and economics head towards the wrong direction. Before we criticise our leaders, we look over our shoulders with anxious suspicion and hope that what we say will not get to the ears of vindictive state machinery.

I suppose this is why in legal circles it is sometimes said that the law is as good as those that interpret it. Let me explain. Dating back to the Lancaster House constitution, up to the current supreme law, there has been many clauses insinuating how free our media is and why citizens should freely express themselves. I have heard politicians from the other political divide brag that Zimbabwe has a free media because there are “independent newspapers allowed to operate”. True enough, we cannot be compared to North Korea, Saudi Arabia or Cuba, but that does not mean we are free to express ourselves. In order to establish a newspaper or radio station, one overcomes a labyrinth of bureaucratic obstacles. People like Tafataona Mahoso are strategically placed as gatekeepers to media freedom. Of late, we have had the First Lady Grace Mugabe wagging a threatening finger at journalists while President Robert Mugabe’s own spokesperson, George Charamba thinks we express ourselves as an act of divine benevolence from his boss, even if it is our constitutional right to do so. The president himself has issued a chilling threat to the independent media, “…You are thinking how can you excite people who read so that they buy your paper. No. The journalism we are experiencing is not the journalism we expect. If we take control now, rigid control, people should not cry foul.” The point he seems to completely miss is that the role of the media is not to do public relations work for Zanu-PF or any politician, but to report on the facts.

If you look closely at the global pattern of industrialisation, you will notice that most countries (except China) that have a higher degree of free expression are wealthier. The vibrancy of Kenyan, Nigerian and South African democracy is partly to do with media freedom. Government is made accountable, questioned and routinely challenged while political leaders are kept under public scrutiny. In Zimbabwe, we rely on foreign media to hear alternative opinion because it is almost impossible to register a local television station. Those like Mutumwa Mawere and James Makamba who tried, were ruthlessly suppressed.

Yet our government will always claim that it encourages free but responsible media behaviour. The argument around media regulation — self or State-supervised — revolves around the aspect of “responsible” expression. The law itself has two sections that talk about expression. Section 61 gives citizens ultimate freedom of expression and freedom of media, but reminds us of how government should “control” licensing and how certain types of free expression are outlawed. Here, it is not so much that I worry about why there are exceptions, but my problem is that of selective application of the law. ZBC is a public institution financed by everyone who pays taxes and buys licences, but when it comes to Zanu-PF business, this institution puts itself at the disposal of the party cronies. ZBC spends most of its time denigrating and calling us puppets of the West. They use their monopoly to portray us as directionless, foreign-funded parties. We are not even afforded the right to respond. This is very irresponsible, actually criminal.
I will be the first to accept that in a civilisation, there are things that are reasonable not to say e.g. matters of traditional taboo, blasphemy and hatred. Thus, when I talk of responsible freedom of expression, in mind comes things that endanger other people’s lives when said. Some things destroy marriages, companies and self-confidence.
At MDC, we make serious commitments to free expression. We have a problem with monopolisation of airwaves and the public media by a small section of the population, which is directly traced to the absence of a devolved system of government. Because of this, the history of the media in Zimbabwe is one of statutory control, repression, restrictive legislation and executive overregulation — partisan pandering generally reflective of state paranoia, limited political space and a deep-seated aversion for unfettered press freedom and genuine participatory democracy. Evidence is that our media serves the interests and puts across the views and strengthens the political and economic privileges of the elite, the government of the day and politically connected. Newsrooms of public broadcast studios are manned and dominated by journalists whose worldview invariably mirrors those of the State and owners.

Over the years, meaningful growth and development of the media sector has been slow, with limited diversity and high entry barriers owing both to adverse political and economic conditions. An environment of stringent bureaucratic requirements has ensured limited competition to state broadcaster — Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, frustrating the possibility of effective media competition and negatively affecting the quality of media products and services. The resultant quality of journalism has seen a disturbing loss and decline of public confidence in the media. The violent clampdown by the State in the run up to the 2000, 2005, 2008 and 2013 elections, routine arrests, imprisonment and harassment of journalists and the shutdown of media houses deemed to support opposition political ideology, irreparably damages the reputation of the media sector. It is against such an adverse backdrop that the MDC government considers a strategy for wholesale national media transformation to be an absolute necessity and to be the epicentre of national participatory governance and democratic change. As a major pillar of governance, the media is not yet adequately structured to effectively promote, support and force public institutions to demonstrate diversity, equality, fairness, public accountability, equity and transparency, which are the party’s fundamental values to drive the realisation of human rights.

If voted into power, the MDC government will utilise devolution principles to re-introduce freedom of information to facilitate free flow of information through responsible and accountable community-based journalism. We insist that rights of all citizens to free expression be guaranteed and protected by the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The MDC upholds the value of media regulation as far as it governs ethics, promotes professional conduct and protects the reasonable right of individuals to privacy, but it is the role of the media to implement this function. Our government will encourage research and development in order to facilitate media competition in an open media market. Media must be effectively deregulated, free and disencumbered of undue censorship, interference and control by the Executive arm of the government.

The ultimate value of public accountability, the pursuit of transparent governance and the pulse of the conscience of the State effectively abode with a robust private and public media. Expanded media circulation ensures that all forms of media are accessible and affordable to all sections of society, in particular rural communities’ access and their active participation. The MDC will secure individual liberties and progressively expand the democratic space through provisions for a robust, free and diverse private and public media. We commit ourselves to improve quality of media products and services accessed by citizens through effective investment in media and Information and Communications Technology infrastructure development, accelerated cyberspace connectivity and increased private sector investment and competition. My party will secure sustainable media balance, fair practice privacy rights and best practice media ethics benchmarks through a constitutionalised, independent, professional and non-partisan reformed Zimbabwe Communications and Media Commission. We will push for effective decentralisation and de-urbanisation of the media so as to increase the media reach to all and particularly rural communities and improve the participation of all sections of that society in a free media space.

It is critical to encourage adherence to global standards of good governance and media that best provide a benchmark for our media policy and practice. We realise how media is a function of an entrenched national culture of effective communication and documentation based on systemic and continuous generation, management and dissemination of quality information within and among institutions across all sectors of society. My government will encourage expanded media circulation to ensure that all forms of media are accessible and affordable to all sections of society in particular rural communities’ access and participation.
– by Welshman Ncube

Opposition Demand Audience With Chuhuri After Weekend Political Violence In Fear Of A 2008 Repeat

Opposition political parties yesterday demanded to meet Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri following last weekend’s politically-motivated violence that rocked the city.

The parties said they feared if the incident was not dealt with promptly, the country could slide back to the 2008 chaos.

In a letter addressed to Chihuri and signed by seven opposition parties, MDC-T, People First, National Constitutional Assembly, Transform Zimbabwe, People’s Democratic Party, Zanu Ndonga, FreeZim Congress and African Democratic Party demanded that the meeting takes place immediately . Source: newsday

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