However, my responses never vary – on account of most of the Zimbabwe regime’s repulsive ineptitude and poor governance being exposed by the state media itself – whose below par performance inadvertently exposes the disgraceful failures and deception of the country’s ruling elite.
In fact, were it not for such media outlets as ZBC, The Herald, Sunday Mail, and their sister publications – maybe, I would not know as much as I do about the gross incompetence of those holding power in Zimbabwe.
I have learnt a considerable amount from those meant to market the regime, than from their opponents and supposed detractors – such that, most of my inspiration to write the material I publish, emanates from watching ZBC, or reading The Herald or Sunday Mail.
As I have alluded to before, in previous writings, the art of propaganda is a complex speciality – and, if handled by novices, in an amateurish manner (as we have witnessed countless times with our state-controlled media) – the results are most likely to prove more damaging to the spin doctors and those they aim to protect, defend, and promote, than the targeted subjects.
Which is exactly what led me to pen this article.
After renowned award-winning journalist and activist, Hopewell Chin’ono, presented his impassioned address recently in Geneva, Switzerland before a United Nations panel on human rights – on the true despicable and horrendous state of affairs in Zimbabwe, including the harrowing experiences faced by cancer patients, who fail to access much-needed radiotherapy, as the few machines in the country are perennially out of service, and the government reluctant to repair them, or simply replacing them – there was a loud uproar and huge outrage from the ruling establishment, and those aligned to them.
As a matter of fact, some shadowy outfit, calling itself “Varakashi4ED” – a grouping of social media trolls, who target their toxic vitriol against perceived “anti-government activists”, without offering much in terms of sound intellectual discourse – urged for the speedy enactment of the envisioned Patriotic Act, meant to punish all those, like Chin’ono, who criticize and expose the Zimbabwe ruling elite’s abuses of power, human rights violations, looting of national resources, and economic mismanagement, to the international community.
Well, thanks to our state-controlled broadcaster, we can always point to similar acts by our very own ruling ZANU PF party – who never shied away, and harbored no qualms at all, disparaging and denigrating the country, whilst calling for “crippling economic sanctions”, which inevitably harmed and hurt the ordinary people.
Zimbabweans have never been spared the anguish and odious task of being repeatedly shown statements and comments issued by ZANU leaders, particularly during the liberation struggle of the 1960s and 70s – more so, during this “independence day” period.
No wonder quite a lot of people in Zimbabwe have not watched ZBC for the past twenty years – rather opting for digital satellite television – which I also prefer, save for the one news bulletin a day on the state broadcaster, specifically for the aforementioned reasons.
We have recently been shown such people as Edgar “Twoboy” Tekere, the late ousted president Robert Gabriel Mugabe, and in previous occasions, the late ZANLA commander Josiah Tongogara, Edson Zvobgo, assassinated late ZANU chairman Herbert Chitepo, amongst numerous others – either castigating the sitting government’s heinous injustices and crimes against humanity, explaining why they chose the war route in removing the incumbent, and calling for international support.
In all those interviews, who do people think these nationalist leaders were addressing?
For starters, this was in the 1970s, and were definitely not being interviewed by the ZBC!
Obviously, they were talking to foreign news channels, such as the BBC (which had become the darling of nationalist leaders, due to London’s own utter disdain of the Ian Douglas Smith’s Salisbury administration, especially after his November 11, 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence) – and, their audience were the international community – coupled by frequent visits to both regional and global capitals to make their case.
In fact, did our nationalist movements not have permanent offices and representatives in various countries, specifically for that purpose?
Indeed, after economic sanctions were imposed – our neighbors, mainly Mozambique and Zambia (who supported the liberation struggle effort with a passion) also felt the brunt, as they had to cut off trade routes to our country, leaving them either without the much-needed revenue, or the latter accessing its own imported goods and services at far higher costs, since those from ports in Mozambique had to be circumvented around Rhodesia.
In this country – those of us who were old enough to understand what was happening – still remember the endless queues at fuel stations, and the coupon system, resulting from the economic and trade embargo, due to the sanctions.
Are we, then, to say – those nationalist leaders, who are still being beamed on state television without rest, should have also been criminalized for the statements they made, apparently “disparaging” and “denigrating” their own country, and calling for “punitive economic sanctions” that undeniably hurt the masses?
Should they have also fallen foul of a “Patriotic Act”?
What is the difference between what Chitepo, Zvobgo, and Mugabe told the international community, to what today’s liberation fighters are doing?
Let us not be hypocritical here, and stop with the double standards!
When the people of Zimbabwe have had enough of the relentless oppression, injustices, and suffering – at the hands of a more powerful, cruel, vindictive, and well-armed (both militarily and institutionally) regime – we will inevitably cry out to all who can hear us, and seek for as much assistance as we can.
Our nationalist fathers and mothers did it – so, why should we not do it as well?
@ Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured