PROPAGANDA: a loaded gun

The Macmillan English Dictionary defines propaganda as ‘information that a government or organisation spreads in order to influence people’s opinions and beliefs.’

It appears to me then that propaganda, like a loaded gun, should never be aimed at oneself. The purveyors of propaganda should naturally be acquainted with the inaccuracies of the information they propagate and the limitations of its use. Propaganda does not represent the whole truth. I have reason to believe that a number of my fellow countrymen and women in the political arena have very little appreciation of the limitations of propaganda.

Zanu (PF), has adopted a propaganda line which its officials have used in every election for a decade or so, which says ‘Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.’ The party portrays itself as the bulwark of our country’s sovereignty and Independence against the nefarious, colonialist-inclined machinations of mainly the UK and the USA, thereby doing all of us an immeasurable favour for which we must all be eternally grateful.


We are told that we are being victimised by these two powers because of our land amongst other issues. But the party neglects to explain fully why we have been singled out by these two powers for special treatment involving subjugation and bondage – rather than our neighbours Zambia and Mozambique who have more fertile land than us.

During the campaign period for the 2013 elections, my fellow countrymen and women who belong to the Zanu (PF) fold, crisscrossed the country, telling us that Zimbabwe would never be a colony again. They did so in style. Their candidates drove in brand spanking new Ford Everest vehicles which their party purchased for them. The more affluent amongst them used Land Rovers, with some campaigning in the latest Range Rovers. And what is an election campaign without that magnificent piece of German engineering, the Mercedes Benz? (I am ethically bound to confess my undying love of the Merc). All these cars are made in the West, by the would-be colonisers.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Zanu (PF) was not forced to purchase these Western motor vehicles. Apparently they bought them freely and voluntarily, without undue pressure being brought to bear upon them. As these party officials campaigned, their wallets would have been stacked with American dollars and South African rand.


Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar in 2009 as part of a multi-currency regime. The Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa, announced during presentation of the 2014 budget that there were no immediate plans to re-introduce the Zimdollar, much to the relief of Zimbabweans of all political persuasions. Having printed our own currency into oblivion, we are all afflicted with a strange malady called Zimdollarphobia. The mere mention of the word ‘Zimdollar’ reduces us to panic-stricken wrecks.

We live in perpetual fear of its return. Chinamasa’s announcement was greeted with nationwide sighs of relief. Chinamasa himself has in the recent past sought to gain political mileage by claiming credit for the banishment of the Zimdollar and the introduction of the US dollar into our currency regime. And we say ‘Zimbabwe will never be a colony again?’

Then there is the subject of sanctions. The reaction by my fellow countrymen and women who belong to Zanu (PF) to the issue of sanctions allegedly imposed on them by the UK and the USA belies their ‘Zimbabwe will never be a colony again’ mantra. Zanu (PF) argues that the UK and the USA have imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.


The party has mounted an international campaign against these sanctions with unmitigated vigour, blaming these for all our economic woes. Consider this: China, the 2nd largest economy in the world has not imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. Neither has the rest of Asia. China has a fifth of the world’s population. Add to that the populations of India and Japan and you have a significant proportion of the world’s population who have no qualms about trading with us. Japan is the world’s third largest economy, which in effect means the 2nd and 3rd largest economies in the world have not imposed sanctions on us.

Why, therefore, are my fellow countrymen and women from Zanu (PF) so concerned that the two countries who have caused us so much trauma have said they do not want to trade with us? Is it a case of a whole country being afflicted with the Stockholm Syndrome where the UK and the USA are concerned – or are we simply in awe of these two countries and would therefore wish to remain in their orbit. The verdict is yours.

Personally, I have always argued that we are a colony of South Africa and have been one for almost a century. It was Rhodesia’s ties with South Africa that enabled her to ride out the sanctions and emerge from them unscathed. Thanks to the collapse of our manufacturing base, our supermarkets are filled with South African goods. On the political front, the role played by Thabo Mbeki, in defence of the Zanu (PF) government, in the turbulent years between 2000 and 2008 needs no re stating. If South Africa were to close her borders with us and shun us politically, we would collapse. Totally.

Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Yeah right!! – Thabani Mpofu is an ex public prosecutor and lawyer.

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