State media turns up heat on PM

With elections looming, the Zanu (PF)-controlled state media has upped its propaganda war against main rival party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai

But the MDC said this week the campaign would not guarantee victory for President Robert Mugabe and his party.

In the past week, state media have published a series of stories suggesting the MDC, which beat Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) party in 2008, is set to split over Tsvangirai's support for gay rights.

The MDC dismissed the articles, which said that Tsvangirai, a fiery former trade unionist, was being challenged by his secretary general, Tendai Biti, a lawyer.

The stories quoted Wikileaks cables and unnamed MDC Members of Parliament saying Tsvangirai, who has no university degree, did not have the right academic qualifications or the skills to lead Zimbabwe.

The legislators reportedly accused Tsvangirai of failing to deal with the violence in his party that erupted at the MDC congress. The State

media has hammered Tsvangirai for his gay rights call, branding him "erratic", "flip-flopper" and several other denunciations.

Discredited "analysts" such as Gabriel Chaibva, Tafataona Mahoso and Jonathan Moyo have been lined up by the state media to tear into Tsvangirai, while church leaders have been quoted slamming Tsvangirai for calling for gay Rights. One even suggested the PM himself was gay.

The MDC has said the stories are "attempts to discredit and demonise the MDC leadership with false and fictional stories concocted within the corridors of the Central Intelligence Organisation and the Department of Information".

The MDC has officially protested to the state media over biased reporting, selective coverage and black-out of party activities in two damning letters slamming the state press for practising "gutter journalism."

The State media has imposed a complete blackout of the Prime Minister’s press conferences, especially on matters to do with the outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement.

In the meantime, more new propaganda songs extolling Mugabe's leadership are being churned out with even more repulsive dancing by Mbare Chimurenga Dance Choir.

Article 19 of the GPA that gave birth to the inclusive government, says steps should be taken to ensure that the public media provides balanced and fair coverage to all political parties for their legitimate political activities.

The MDC says it has been a perennial victim of unbridled propaganda and hate speech from newspapers in Zimpapers stable.

"We have borne the brunt of misguided lies masquerading as journalism," said Tsvangirai's spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka. "The good news is that we have succeeded and won elections despite being at the receiving end of relentless gutter journalism whose sole purpose has been to perpetually malign and soil the image of the MDC and its leadership."

Political analysts say the MDC has the capacity to weather the hostile campaign, although the careers of some promising young MPs named in Wikileaks cables hangs in the balance.

Post published in: News
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