SABC implicated in Ncube sting operation

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
BULAWAYO
The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation, SABC, has been implicated in a Zanu (PF) and Central Intelligence Organisation sting operation against Archbishop Pius Ncube after it emerged that its correspondent, Supa Mandiwanzira, using the name of SABC was part of

the operation against the respected cleric.
The SABC is one of the few respected public broadcasters in Africa as the majority of radio and television stations such as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, ZBH have been taken over by governments and are now used as tools for propaganda.
However, the SABC’s latest move will result in questions being raised about its credibility and its role in the persecution of one of the most outspoken people against President Robert Mugabe’s ethnic cleansing genocide of the 1980s known as Gukurahundi and the 2005 urban clearances known as Operation Murambatsvina.
Sources allege that Mandiwanzira was privy to the plot against Ncube and was told by his superiors in the CIO to arrange for an interview with the bishop using his status as an SABC correspondent.
Ncube rarely grants interviews to the ZBC because of bias against those who question Mugabe’s misrule and only agreed to speak to Mandiwanzira after he told him that he was the SABC correspondent for Zimbabwe.
“We were all surprised at Montrose Studios when we saw Supa Mandiwanzira, Happison Muchechetere and Tazzen Mandizvidza coming to collect cameras but they did not say what kind of assignment they were on,” said a journalist at the Bulawayo television station.
Mandizvidza is the editor in chief of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings while Muchechetere heads the redundant Twenty Four Seven, a propaganda station which has failed to take off after it emerged that equipment used to jam broadcasts from the Voice of America had also jammed the local station in Gweru.
The Bulawayo based journalists said they were even more surprised when they saw the two ZBH camera persons leave for the mysterious assignment wearing SABC jackets, which were supplied by Mandiwanzira.
One of the journalists who was present when the Harare based journalists approached Pius Ncube while pretending to be from the SABC said one of the initial questions asked by the journalists was what he thought about some Catholic Bishops in the USA who had broken their celibacy vows to which Ncube replied: “Everybody is a sinner, there is nobody who does not sin.”
That statement was then twisted to seem as if he had been responding to a question on whether he had an adulterous relationship with Rosemary Sibanda.
“There was an element of déjà vu about the way Harare journalists were deployed here. It was similar to the way that Rueben Barwe and other State journalists were deployed to come and witness police ‘discovering’ Cain Nkala’s body when everybody was aware that he had been murdered by his colleagues in Zanu (PF) in order to create an excuse for unleashing violence against the MDC,” said another journalist.
Meanwhile two journalists from the state-controlled Chronicle have been disowned by their families for the roles they played in the saga.
A source who declined to be named said: “Our colleagues who were asking Rosemary Sibanda questions in the Ndebele language on behalf of the Harare-based journalists who could not speak the local language have been ostracized by their families who have told them not to visit them, as they are embarrassed by the roles which they played.”
In 2002, Mandiwanzira produced a documentary on the sting operation launched by the CIO and Canadina-based Ari Ben Menashe in which they tried to implicate MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai on treason charges. After a lengthy treason trial, Tsvangirai was cleared of the charges.

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