e to turn up, let alone demand that the newly established council “prohibit” Western funding to human rights Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe. The reason, Chinamasa explained, was that NGOs sought to destabilise what he unblushingly described as “their popularly elected government,” as well as helping “opposition groups that have no local support basis.”
“Such unlikely claims and his brazen attempt to seek universal endorsement of government’s determination to further erode civil society’s democratic space serves to expose the authorities’ fear of having their undemocratic conduct subjected to scrutiny,” the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) said in its report covering June 19-25.
Coinciding neatly with Chinamasa’s Geneva appearance, the independent media carried six fresh cases of rights violations in Zimbabwe. MMPZ said that these included arrests of Women of Zimbabwe Arise members; barring and disruption of opposition MDC gatherings; and Bishop Levee Kadenge driven into hiding after a death threat from a CIO operative.
In what the monitors called a further illustration of the “extent to which the country had become a police state,” The Standard newspaper cited other incidents of state security agents threatening student and workers’ leaders not to stage anti-government protests.
The state-run media’s coverage of the chaos in agriculture and the economic crisis followed its usual pattern of piecemeal stories with no context or examination of why things get worse and worse, plus glowing and unsubstantiated reports that the regime’s latest so-called economic revival plan is working well.
For example, state newspapers carried stories muddling the extent and reasons behind the under-utilization of land seized from white commercial farmers, choosing to focus on the authorities blaming resettled farmers for their failure to produce.
“There was no attempt to reconcile the farmers’ alleged failure with the authorities’ own policy shortcomings, characterised by poor support schemes for the farmers and continued farm invasions,” MMPZ said in its report.
Similarly, the state broadcasters handled the deeply serious grain shortages with some blame-game quotes from the Grain Marketing Board, on one hand, and farmers on the other. “None of the stations,” the monitors reported, tried to establish the truth of the matter or view the low deliveries as an affirmation of independent observers’ projections that the country had produced half its annual grain requirement.”
The private media, however, continued to ascribe the economic crisis to poor governance, and gave a clearer picture of the state of the economy and its dim future.
The Zimbabwe Independent noted that the state ended last year with an outstanding “external debt of US$3.9 billion against export receipts of only US$1.7 billion.”
Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa both predicted ever higher inflation, the latter quoting economist Eric Bloch as saying that by December a family of six will need Z$180 million a month to survive. Economist John Robertson said the authorities would soon be unable to print money fast enough to keep pace with rising prices resulting “in a massive cash crisis.”
Post published in: News