Their days are numbered


WARD 12, PARIRENYATWA HOSPITAL, HARARE - So the Minister of Information, Tichaona Jokonya, is trying to revive the moribund Southern Times is he? This creature of Professor Jono's, created just before his fall from grace to extend the reach of the government mind-co

ntrol to Zimbabweans in the diaspora, has been a complete flop since day 1.

Jono somehow did a 50-50 deal between Zimbabwe Newspapers and the Namibians, who he fast-talked into putting large sums of money into this hair-brained scheme. After a very shaky start, somewhat retarded by the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times’ robust legal response to the propaganda sheet’s deceitful attempt to plagiarise its title, a few copies eventually saw the light of day. Now I hear that the title is being re-launched with much fanfare and renewed vigour. Magaisa likes to see lots of newspapers. I like to be able to pick and choose. If I should ever manage to get hold of a copy of the new Southern Times, I will surely read it. But as it comes from the same stable as The Herald you can be sure the news will have to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt. But that’s fine – let them carry on and extend their flow of (dis)information as far and wide as they want to. But then they should also allow other independent voices to compete fairly for people’s attention inside the country.

Your recent story, Mr Editor, about the machinations in the Tafataona Mahoso corner, that government is now being urged to control distributors of newspapers, sent me reaching for my scud in alarm. There is really no place for dinosaurs like this, and their draconian legislation, in a modern democratic society. If I had my wish people like Mahoso would be banished to somewhere very far away, like Mukumbura. If people needed evidence that the government is in panic mode, the announcement that commercial internet service providers will now be forced to spy on behalf of the CIO is ample proof. Big brother had nothing on this. The government is frightened of its own people and thinks it can keep the lid on the pot by eavesdropping on our telephone conversations, reading our emails, opening and interfering with our post, jamming independent radio transmissions, and closing down newspapers. But all this is bound to fail because technology has been designed to increase access to information. Trying to restrict it in any way is like putting one’s finger in a leak in a dam wall. You will fail.

But don’t worry my dear readers. Your favourite columnist Magaisa will outfox these enemies of press freedom. Myself, I’ll continue to send my stories to London, even if I have to download a special DIY encryption system from the internet. I’m sure between Mujubheki and I, we will figure it out somehow I promise you. Mahoso will not defeat Magaisa. His efforts to extinguish freedom of the press, and thereby any vestige of democracy, in Zimbabwe is nothing short of a political Chernobyl. But his efforts, together with Zanu (PF)’s panic management that has been so evident during the past several weeks, will soon come to nothing. One thing is for certain, their days are numbered. Nothing lasts forever. Even the most powerful empires, dynasties and monarchies eventually come to an end.
So don’t give up Zimbabweans – time is on OUR side. He. He he!

Information is power

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