Unasked question: Who killed the fish?

By a Correspondent
HARARE - Were it not for the immense suffering of Zimbabweans, the state media's coverage of the economic crisis, including a new world record of 1,193% inflation in May, would be laughable.
The Chronicle, in an attack on Britain that was weird even by its distorted standard

s, criticised London for supporting humanitarian programmes with the aim, the paper said, of giving “a hungry person fish so they keep coming on for more instead of teaching them how to fish for themselves.”
It did not, of course, ask: “Who killed the fish?”
As usual, the regime’s mouthpieces avoided linking the economic downward spiral to official mismanagement and corruption, focussing instead on the old canard of non-existent Western sanctions and the new fig leaf – the so-called economic revival programme. It is the latest of many such revivals all characterised by long sets of initials – this one is NEDPP – and not much else.
The state-run Sunday Mail is so keen on NEDPP that it saw nothing to worry about in an acknowledgement by Economic Development Minister Rugare Gumbo that the authorities had raised just US$350 million (14%) of the targeted US$2.5 billion in the three months since NEDPP’s launch.
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), in its report covering June 5-11, highlighted other examples of what it termed the state media’s “fixation with projecting NEDPP as already working.”
Spot FM and ZTV even described plans to grant Beitbridge town status as part of official efforts to fulfil “the objectives of NEDPP” and “create a favourable image of the country.” The Herald wanted everyone to rally behind the programme and also – even more absurd given the shortages of commodities – to look for “affordable commodities or cheaper substitutes.”
Most of the state media buried the latest inflation news, while The Chronicle went one better and ignored it altogether. The monitors noted, however, that the private media gave forthright coverage to the rapidly deteriorating economy, and continued to blame it on the Mugabe regime’s poor policies.
The Zimbabwe Independent was particularly outspoken, castigating the authorities for criminalizing price increases when it was the state itself that had created the fertile ground for such “illegality.”
“Where would industry be without the forex black market,” the paper declared. “Where did (reserve Bank Governor Giodeon) Gono get the forex he bought with the $46 trillion he printed last year? Is government not the chief distributor of fuel that finds its way onto the black market? The government raised the spectre of illegality. Now it must live with it.”
On international relations, MMPZ said the state media “continued to gloss over the country’s pariah status and the international community’s efforts to find a solution” by portraying Harare as generally having good relations with the rest of the world.
To bolster this slant, the propagandists used sporadic business deals which the regime allegedly signed with companies in Asia or Africa as showing that international concern over Zimbabwe stemmed only from a British and US agenda to remove Mugabe.

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