THE private media in general, and Daily News in particular which has become the opposition political parties’ and regime change proponents’ fifth column, never cease to amaze, especially when attempts are made to portray Zanu PF as a party on the precipice of oblivion when, in fact, the opposite is true.
In an article authored by one Gift Phiri, whose reputation derives less from his writing prowess than spewing anti-Zanu PF and First Family diatribe, the Daily News recently alleged that President Robert Mugabe was being confronted by a so-called whispering crusade within Zanu PF that was engineered by those vying to succeed him.
No impertinence intended to Gift, but one cannot behave like an adrenalin-frenzy bull in an oriental shop without risking castration. Puzzling, however, is the deafening silence of the paper to point out that President Mugabe has just emerged, fresh as an embryo, from a recent endorsement by multitudes that held a solidarity march during the Million Man March in Harare recently.
The issue of alleged faltering loyalty does not even arise, except in the fertile imagination of those with too much time on their hands and nothing else to do other than wish away their adversaries. Fortunately, President Mugabe is a reality and cannot be wished away by a handful of haters and political activists masquerading as scribes.
It is clear that the concocted daggers and the attendant Ides of March are part of a fervent agenda-setting thrust by the private media which has come to define the incestuous relationship between this part of the Fourth Estate and the opposition in the country.
Granted, Zanu PF is a newsworthy institution and many an editor owes their livelihood to diaries generated by the Party. Still, one cannot help but notice a trend where doomsayers attempt to link any non-event elsewhere to the revolutionary party.
Take for instance the issue of factionalism and succession within Zanu PF that the private media has sought to cultivate and widen in an attempt to destroy the Party from within. The tired headlines about VP Mnangagwa being poised to take over as well as the trivialisation of national politics along tribal lines is a detractor strategy that is meant to facilitate social disintegration and overall discontent with Zanu PF.Advertisement
The congress that Zimbabwe People First is slated to hold in October this year where all manner of brouhaha is anticipated to take centre stage as politically spent forces of all sizes and shapes jostle for front row posts is another case in point. With that party riddled with internal strife, there have been attempts by the private media to present a modicum of unity within the hotchpotch party.
Again, Zanu PF’s purported wilting support base is supposed to signify the revolutionary party’s death knell in the context of MDC-T MP for Mabvuku-Tafara, James Maridadi’s frivolous and vexatious drift to impeach His Excellency.
Zimbabweans are being fed desperate propaganda morsels from the MDC-T information and publicity desk that has also fabricated an alleged bipartisan majority quorum of legislators of which more than seventy are said to be from Zanu PF. This is a vain hope that, in the unlikely event that such an uncouth motion sails through, Party legislators will use the secret ballot to turn against their leader. However, such injudicious actions are historically associated with the MDC.
After his drubbing in the 2013 harmonised elections, Morgan Tsvangirai’s decree for party MPs to boycott Parliament swearing-in by President Mugabe was defied as legislators argued that they could not be prevented from assuming their duties by someone who had lost miserably to his rival. He also tried and failed to dissuade legislators from accepting the RBZ vehicles on the flimsy excuse that then-Governor, Gideon Gono, was performing extra fiscal functions, thereby making their procurement unprocedural. My foot!!
Matson Hlalo, a Bulawayo businessman and former MDC-T provincial chairman dragged his party to court seeking to bar his ouster, much to the chagrin of that part’s leader. Recently, the MDC-T has been embroiled in a calamitous scandal by ordering its councillors to endorse the unprocedural employment of James Mushore as Harare Town Clerk in violation of the provisions of the law.
However, councillors, including Chris Mbanga, the acting mayor who replaced the insubordinate Bernard Manyenyeni, have stood their ground and left Tsvangirai with egg on his face. A Kangaroo court has since decided the fate of Cllr Mbanga who has been recalled amid manoeuvres to expel him from the MDC-T. I could go on because the list is as long as my arm.
Furthermore, the opposition and their mouthpieces are notorious for fabricating stories that are then attributed to phantoms allegedly within Zanu PF and Government. A couple of days ago, the Daily News and Newsday led with an apparition in a dark overall as they attempted to have the country believe that it was MDC-T activist Itai Dzamara whose whereabouts are unknown. The same Daily News now seeks to authenticate its concoction by citing an anonymous Politburo member.
Not to be outdone, that paper’s business editor, John Kachembere, went to town misrepresenting that a coterie of clergymen, supposedly representing the Christian faith in the country, had demanded that President Mugabe should step down owing to alleged commissions and omissions. Dr Shingi Munyeza, the spokesperson of Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations was quoted in pursuit of same.
Out of interest, this writer engaged the learned businessman with a view to getting a view from the horse’s mouth. However, as has become the norm than exception, Dr Munyeza refuted the statements attributed to him, arguing that it was an unmitigated misrepresentation of a press statement that could be verified through his twitter handle.
This was his response verbatim; “No I did not. The body of the report shows no one said it. Journalism license I guess. The full press release where this is taken out of is on my Facebook Page. Fully endorsed by Prof Jonathan Moyo on my Twitter handle @shingimunyeza.
“I’ve realised press always have a divergent agenda and my approach is always to ignore them otherwise if you respond to them you give them legitimacy when, in actual effect, they have no legitimacy to their story. I give respect where respect is due. In this case there is no respect in such writing.” There it is: the attempt to lend legitimacy to an illegitimate article by roping in, through hook or crook, opinion makers of the community.
There have also been attempts to set the Presidency on a collision path with the grassroots, especially VPs Phelekezela Report Mphoko and Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. The former has been lampooned in the private press as a divisive figure fronting a G40 faction within Zanu PF that is supposedly against the so-called Lacoste.
Douglas Mahiya and other war veterans have been alleged as declaring war on VP Mphoko for presenting a report to the President that stopped short of accusing them of treason. The same report that, it has been suggested, precipitated a backlash from the highest office in the land. VP Mnangagwa’s credentials as a possible successor to His Excellency have been queried by some quarters on the basis that he is yet to atone for his transgressions on account of him having been at the helm of some security apparatus during the “era of madness”.
The succession issue, which is not so much an issue in Zanu PF as it is in the opposition circles, has become a cash cow to the private press since a no day passes by without a creamer attesting to same. Yet President Mugabe has been unequivocal in pointing out that the era of anointing a successor is as ancient as roaming the garden nude and has been overtaken by an epoch of freewill of the majority in electing who to entrust the reigns of the Party. Otherwise there is a great risk of preoccupation with lobbying for posts at the expense of serious national issues such as addressing the El Nino effects as well as the cash crisis.
The headline by The Standard alleging, “War vets’ anti-Mugabe plot exposed as VP (Mphoko) spills the beans” are an instructive perpetual menace to try and drive a wedge between the patron and the vanguard of the Party since disenfranchising the latter would leave the former exposed to the whims of detractors within and outside Zanu PF.
At the end of the day, it becomes quite apparent that all these shenanigans are part of a broader agenda to keep Zanu PF entangled in petty internal politics and provide the opposition with ample time to regroup, strategise and launch vain assaults against the country. However, people are aware of bogus stories, bogus politicians and equally bogus journalists and shall hold them to account.