te media blindly reported on conflicting official statements on policy issues without any attempt to explain away the inconsistencies. According to the MMPZ, confusion reigned over reports of the controversy surrounding new bread prices. The Herald and her sister publications on 20 October “passively reported the arrest of a senior official in the Trade and Industry Ministry, Norman Chakanetsa, for allegedly ‘unlawfully’ approving the bread price hike without the consent of his boss, Minister Obert Mpofu.” They did not bother to question why it took weeks for the authorities to detect the anomaly.
In contrast, apart from the Mirror papers, the private media endeavoured to expose the government policy deficiencies and contradictions with regards to economic policy and also the land reform issues. The Gazette and the Standard, for example, reported the continued eviction of white farmers despite Mujuru’s assurance to international guests attending the Tourism Expo that “our land reform programme is now part of our history” as it had “been taken to its logical conclusion”.
The Standard quoted JAG chairman John Worswick dismissing the compensation claims as “a bloody scam”, saying government gave farmers only “5 to 10% of the real value of their properties”. CFU vice-president Trevor Gifford concurred, saying most applications for land by white farmers had been “rejected” on “racially motivated reasons”.
Typically the government press completely evaded these issues rehashing official statements and glossing over the agricultural problems.
Mis-reporting of major issues could also be seen in ZTV’s “distorted news values”. According to the MMPZ, who examined seven top stories run by ZTV, none of them deserved the top slot. Most stories were based on “mundane official pronouncements” such as how the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority expressed satisfaction with this year’s travel expo without substantiating claims of the “lucrative deals” made there.
Important stories such as the “the shocking revelations of girl-child school dropouts in Matebeleland”, were buried under routine reports such as the Education Minister’s calls for NGOs to work together “beyond a culture of conferences and workshops.” Even when reported, no information was given on the reasons for the 25 per cent drop out rate or what the statistics were for boy dropouts in the region.
According to the MMPZ: “ZTV’s preoccupation with officialdom at the expense of dealing with the broader picture also meant that they ignored following up on important national events or official promises that it would have previously reported.” Despite a pronouncement by Transport Minister Christopher Mushowe, in connection with another report, that the National Railways were on the road to recovery after near collapse, ZTV did not bother to measure the rate of revival nor question how operational problems had lead to fatal train accidents such as the Dibangombe train disaster report whose findings the authorities have refused to release.
In an uncharacteristic display of unanimity, both sections of the press reported on the divergent views in the debate surrounding the controversial Domestic Violence Bill. The consensus among commentators was that clauses that classified “unreasonable denial of conjugal rights” and “possessiveness” as abuses, would cause problems as there were no set standards that could measure these issues.
The electronic media were, however, largely quiet on the matter, SW Radio Africa made reference to the Bill in connection with another report, while ZBH only aired two stories buried deep within it bulletins.
THE PRESS STATEMENT ON DR. N. SHAMUYARIRA AND ZANU PF POSITION ON GUKURAHUNDI: BY FELIX M. MAFA (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR)
The Post Independence Survivors Trust (PIST) wishes to express its profound condemnation against the position of ZANU PF by its National Spokesperson, Dr. Nathan Shamuyarira on the defence of the 5th Brigade, whereby over 20 000 innocent defenceless people where killed in cold blood by the North Korean trained (Gukurahundi) army. (refer to the Standard of 1 – 7 October 2006) (No regrets on 5 Brigade).
It would appear contradictory from President R. Mugabe former statement “Gukurahundi was a moment of madness” he said it at the funeral of the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo (1999). We therefore wonder and are at pains to ascertain the correct position of ZANU PF as a party and short of ‘APOLOGY’ by R. Mugabe then.
We therefore conclude that Dr. Nathan Shamuyarira’s position is the official one of the party as he is the official spokesperson of the party. Therefore Mr. R. G. Mugabe was politicking to appease and buy time in order to support the dubious unity accord of 22 December 1987 between himself and Dr. Joshua Nkomo the former PF ZAPU President.
From the latest revelation by the Vice President Joseph Msika, (The Standard 15 -21 October 2006) that he was not convinced by R. G. Mugabe’s so called APOLOGY for the said atrocities, shows clearly that the unity accord was a mere surrender document by PF ZAPU in order to save lives from Gukurahundi strategy of killing all people in Matabeleland and Midlands perceived to be PF ZAPU supporters or otherwise.
To conclude our statement, we wish to draw the public to some of the contents of the so-called Unity Accord between ZANU PF and PF ZAPU. The first meeting between the two parties began on the 2nd of October 1985 at Parliament Buildings, Harare and concluded on the 22nd of December 1987 at the same venue.
The agreement is as follows:
1.That ZANU PF and PF ZAPU have irrevocably committed themselves to unite under one political party.
2.That the unity of the two political parties; shall be achieved under the name Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) in short ZANU PF.
3.That Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe shall be the First Secretary and President of ZANU PF.
4.That ZANU PF shall have two Second Secretaries and Vice Presidents who shall be appointed by the First Secretary and President of the Party.
5.That ZANU PF shall seek to establish a socialist society in Zimbabwe on the guidance of Marxist-Leninist principles.
6.That ZANU PF shall seek to establish a One Party State in Zimbabwe.
7.That the leadership of ZANU PF shall abide by the Leadership Code.
8.That the existing structures of ZANU PF and PF ZAPU shall be merged in accordance with the letter and spirit of this Agreement.
9.That both parties shall, in the interim, take immediate vigorous steps to eliminate and end the insecurity and violence prevalent in Matabeleland.
10That ZANU PF and PF ZAPU shall convene their respective Congress to give effect to this Agreement within the shortest possible time.
11.That, in the interim, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe is vested with full powers to prepare for the implementation of this Agreement and to act in the name and authority of ZANU PF.
From the dubious or fake agreement one is left with no doubt that PF ZAPU was cheated and thereafter swallowed by the old ZANU (PF) it was a political expediency of the highest order, by ZANU PF, hence to date the agreement is outdated because sections (5) (6) and (7) have been overtaken by the events and time because:-
One party stated has been rejected by the masses of Zimbabwe through the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on the 11th of September 1999.
In brief the Socialist state built on one party state and the code of conduct as in section (5) (6) and (7) of the said Agreement has been abandoned, by ZANU PF and now is history.
It is therefore incumbent upon the people of Zimbabwe to demand a Truth and Reconciliation Commission with a bias of justice to all perpetrators and victims / survivors of Gukurahndi to say the least. To prevent further occurrences of such inhuman acts and crime against humanity by those in power, we therefore demand a People’s Driven and Democratic Constitution now than later. We demand not less than that, otherwise people of this country will fight by all means to set themselves free from ZANU PF dictatorship.
Dr. N. Shamuyarira’s statement is an attack to the dignity of the people of Matabeleland and Midlands and is most unfortunate, incomprehensible and outrageous to say the least. There are serious contradictions between Robert Mugabe, the ZANU PF President and the recent statement by Dr. Shamuyarira, ZANU PF National Spokesperson. This glaring disparity should not confuse people as it is a strategy to buy time, but the truth shall come out sooner or later.
It is a true reflection of the entire ZANU PF and hence, ordinary Zimbabwean should take a leaf from that statement and plan strategically for a sustainable way forward, i.e. people’s oriented strategies to save Zimbabweans as a whole.
Dated: 17 October 2006
Place: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
By and on behalf of Post Independence Survivors Trust (PIST)
Post Independence Survivors Trust (PIST)
P.O. Box 3006
Cell: 091 322 912
Post published in: News