ZBC – a den of cowards and clowns!

I have always considered the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), to be ridiculous in its warped bootlicking and shallowness, but over the past three months - ever since the November 2017 military intervention, that removed Robert Gabriel Mugabe, and ushered in Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa as the country's president - they have hit a new low, as cowards and clowns.

What I find particularly sad, or maybe laughable, with the ZBC is that, before November 2017, they were the number one advocates for Mugabe, defending him even in matters considered by many as indefensible – yet, recently, they have had the audacity to be critical of him and his leadership.

So what changed?

It would be obvious to all that the only reason that they were at one time Mugabe’s greatest bootlickers, was because he was in power – yet, ever since he was ousted, ZBC finds it easy to be critical of him.

What do the rest of the nation – if not the whole world – call such behaviour?


Whilst the state broadcaster – and its team of reporters, and newsreaders – were busy singing the praises of a tyrant, the rest of the country was busy telling the truth of who Mugabe really was.

The privately-owned media, civil society, the opposition, and the general populace, risked their very survival by criticising Mugabe’s brutality, misrule, and corruption – yet, those so-called journalists at ZBC never had the balls to quit that sham of a media house, but continued on bowing down to, and practically worshipping, the dictator.

What type of self-respecting man, or woman, would sacrifice his or her morals and principles – if they have any at all – at the altar of a deceitful, corrupt, brutal leader and his regime?

Only a coward would do that!

Activists, such as Itai Dzamara bravely stood up for justice and truth – resulting in his abduction and disappearance – and, others arrested on tramped up charges, and beaten up, for standing up for the people of Zimbabwe.

Yet, on the other hand, ZBC reporters and newsreaders were busy covering up Mugabe, portraying him as infallible, and invincible – denying any corruption, atrocities and misguided policies.

However, since Mugabe’s ouster in November 2017, the ZBC has finally found a new cult leader to bootlick, and suddenly Mugabe has become a villian.

Now that he no longer wields any power – and those state journalists feel safe – they can confidently criticize Mugabe!

I find that particularly laughable!

These people remind me of someone who is only courageous when kicking a dead man, but once he flinches, they all run away screaming!

We all now hear on ZBC all sorts of scandals associated with the Mugabe’s, how they ran the country to the ground, and their alleged recent political shenanigans.

We now hear how the country had been riddled with corruption and cronyism during the Mugabe era – yet, during that time, the ZBC and its host of sycophants, were at the forefront of defending Mugabe.

Are we, then to trust what the ZBC stands for, or are we just to take them for who they truly are – cowards and clowns?

Today, they have a new cult leader in Mnangagwa, whom they even go as far as glorfying his scarf-wearing!

They have now replaced Mugabe with Mnangagwa, as the infallible and invincible leader of leaders, who should never be questioned.

What type of individual would ever work for the ZBC?

Are these people who have some self-esteem issues, or are so needy and empty in their lives, such that they feel the need to have someone to be subservient to?

Are these the type of people that need to be told what to do in their everyday lives, and can not think on their own?

Or, are they just cowards?

From my surname, many can tell that I am related to a number of people who had senior positions at the ZBC in the 1980s and 90s – who, when they realised that I had journalistic talents, frequently offered me jobs at the ZBC.

Needless to say, I unequivocally refused, as I was not prepared to sell out my principles – even if it meant years of unemployment.

No self-respecting person would stoop so low as to bootlick another person, and live a life lacking principles and direction.

Today, I praise and glorify Mnangagwa, yet tomorrow – because he would no longer be in power – I start criticising him for the very things I viciously defended him before!

That is the height of ludicrousness and absurdity.

ZBC journalists should be nothing short of ashamed for their lack of direction and morals.

They lack the spine that their counterparts in the private media possess.

Therefore, can that be called work, or is it blatant prostitution?

I would never want the ZBC to be on my side, as not only are they unprincipled and untrustworthy, but have lost all respect in the eyes of the nation.

In fact, I always wonder why opposition politicians cry foul for not being awarded access to such media as the ZBC.

Who, in their right mind, would want to be given positive coverage by a discredited media institution as ZBC?

If I had a political  party, I would never want the ZBC to be on our side – as that would only cost us votes.

Imagine – especially, for those guys who fear approaching girls – sending a discredited and untrustworthy friend to court a beautiful girl for you!

You would lose that girl just because of the friend you sent.

This country does not need the ZBC in its current format, but serious restructuring, such that it genuinely reflects the views of the people – and not of the current leader.

However, what troubles me the most are the people who choose to work for such an organization, in its current structure.

Let us have Zimbabweans who love their country and its people so much that they would never sell out to a sycophant media house, just for the need of cash.

A nation can never move forward if its state institutions, including the media, do not boldly stand up for the truth, without fear or favour.

The state media is not supposed to be the voice of the leadership, but of the people – being prepared and willing to challenge the leadership, if they do anything which is against the nation.

The key to development is the media, in it watchdog role – but, what watchdog role does the ZBC play, when it is actually the poodle of those in leadership?

A leadership that is not held to account can not perform to the optimum – and this is the state media’s ultimate role – and it does not have to wait until those in power have gone!

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He is the Programmes Director with the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice). Please call/WhatsApp: +263782283975, or email: [email protected]. Please also ‘Like’ the ‘ZimJustice’ page on Facebook.

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