|Private media living in Utopia|
|Friday, 18 May 2012 00:00|
These past weeks the donor funded, donor controlled and donor owned ‘independent’ or private media has been very busy giving us various versions and dosages on factionalism in Zanu-PF.
The divergent versions on factionalism were quite a mixed bag with some being outright mischievous, others were devoid of critical and thorough analysis of the real situation on the ground, and the others would actually win these journalists and their editors some of the best prizes in the science fiction category.
The reporting seemed as if factionalism is only in Zanu-PF and other political parties are immune to it. Those who read between the lines were quick to note that last year the voting for the Speaker of Parliament actually exposed the degree of factionalism and disagreements in all political parties. These editors really take their readers for idiots.
Zimbabweans are being taken for a rough ride by some of these media houses. When one looks at a newspaper headline entitled “Sadc to whip Zimbabwe into line” one should quickly read beyond the lines. Those who simply read the lines will quickly fall for it. Propaganda and agenda setting is usually targeted on those gullible groups who believe in every word that is printed. Those who read between and beyond the lines will start by questioning how Sadc, an inter-governmental organisation can whip a sovereign state which actually created it into line.
News editors are good at manipulating those who are ignorant and myopic. Newspapers wouldn’t sale if such a short sighted and ignorant section of society didn’t exist. Media houses actually make huge profits and are able to survive any economic hardship so long as this narrow-minded and semi-literate constituency still believes in their half-baked lies.
Being literate is one thing and being critical of what you read is a different thing altogether. Zimbabweans are quite a literate lot but most of them lack analytical skills to digest and discern what they read. They simply bark at print without detecting the many lies which are cleverly hidden in the printed words.
Had Zimbabweans been critical of what they read surely some papers would be history or extinct by now. However, the parochial literate lot will always be among us and they will always be easy prey to some media outlets which bait them with very interesting headlines. There is always a group of people out there that is usually targeted by those who own and control the media mainly because of their flawed political, religious and ethnic beliefs.
The media in Africa has totally failed to tell Africa’s story. It’s quite disheartening that Africa and its people are “regarded” as not being news worth. If there is ever anything to be written about the continent it is mostly in a very pessimistic way usually centred on poverty, dictatorship, corruption, disease, illiteracy, and the list of negatives goes on.
Political parties which fight to restore a sense of dignity and pride in Africans are usually vilified left, right and centre in the private media. The ANC, Zanu-PF, Frelimo, and Swapo will never receive fair media coverage from these Western owned and controlled papers. All the praise is heaped on Western funded political parties despite their myriad shortcomings.
Mere idiots and villains are turned into heroes while those who really deserve such heroism are turned into criminals and thugs. Ignoramuses and nincompoops are turned into philosopher kings.
Reading a newspaper should not be like being at a political rally. It is only at a political rally that politicians are allowed to propagandise their supporters with all sorts of rhetoric.
Newspapers should not be like that. Simple short messages to the editor are heavily politicised to the extent that one wonders if those who send these messages really exist. Surely, ordinary readers can’t stoop to the extent of rubbishing politicians from other political parties on a daily basis.
Turning the readers’ short messages section into a platform of naked hatred and malice is surely unethical. A look at SMSs in the public media is more realistic as people usually write on issues which affect them on a daily basis usually on power cuts, corruption, politicians, their favourite teams, and also their celebrities.
The private media wants to feed the masses with heavy dosages of malice and divisiveness. The white world is defended from all angles by these “African newspapers”. Who then will ever defend the African space?
It is very interesting to look at the way Major General Martin Chedondo’s statement was blown out of proportion by the private media. There is also a myth or misconception that the military should be non-partisan or apolitical. Aristotle once pointed out that man by nature is a political animal.
This applies to economic man, religious man, civic man and political man. Utopian military men who are schooled in constitutional rhetoric can best fit into that ideal state were the military is not political.
In the real world, the world that we feel, touch, hear and smell, man cannot be divorced from politics. Politics is ubiquitous. Students doing studies in Political Science and Strategic Studies clearly understand these simple concepts.
Chedondo rightly pointed out that those in politics should first agree on national ideals, ethos and objectives then differ in tactics but not on the strategic aspect of what Zimbabwe is.
In America, communism is not tolerated at all. Any political party that attempts to introduce communist ideals, ethos and objectives will never be accepted by the American security.
It is only in Africa where political parties that are against the founding ethos, ideals and objectives of the state are to be endured and even allowed to change the whole political and economic set up when they get in power.
No matter how much the American security might respect any American leader who wins an election, what they will never accept is a leader who doesn’t have the country’s national interest at heart.
Rejoice Ngwenya and his entourage of Western barbarians are on a “holy crusade” to save the neo-liberal Copac document from Zanu-PF “infidels” who are resisting being a colony of Britain again. Two hundred Judas Iscariot dollars will do the trick in enticing and recruiting some treacherous brothers and sisters amongst us who will be used to write 800 words betraying the Zimbabwean people’s views in support of a very flawed Eurocentric draft constitution.
No wonder, with such traitors amongst us, Chedondo correctly pointed out that the soldiers must never apologise when they are discharging their noble role of protecting the integrity of the nation, its hard-won independence and its precious resources.
The private media also wants its readers to believe that by having Tracy Mutinhiri in MDC-T structures it now entails a victory for this neo-liberal party. Do their readers also see a bigger victory for Zanu-PF through the Prime Minister’s engagement to beautiful Elizabeth Macheka?
We understand that the Prime Minister’s wife comes from a family that strongly supports Zanu-PF. Isn’t it that they say behind every successful man there is a woman. Who then is likely going to influence most of the Prime Minister’s decisions?
George Orwell, in his famous book “Animal farm”, gives a very interesting end to the novel when he concludes that — No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again — but already it was impossible to say which was which.
Put simply, the animals which were outside ended up failing to tell the difference between the men and the pigs. The same scenario is also likely to happen among the MDC-T elites whereby there supporters will end up failing to tell the difference between their party and Zanu-PF. Not so surprisingly, MDC-N now says that Tsvangirai is now a son-in-law of Zanu-PF and indeed a Zanu-PF project. Politics, it’s full of surprises.
The private media was also over excited by the news that Tracy Mutinhiri’s is now a member of MDC T. The reporting from the private media seemed as if Mutinhiri had with her a bag full of Zanu-PF secrets which would help the neo-liberal MDC-T to destroy the revolutionary party. Quite a number of Zanu-PF bigwigs have left the party, but none so far has been able to do any damage to this revolutionary party that is worth mentioning.
That’s why it is always wise to read between the lines in order not to be hoodwinked by these donor funded newspapers. Tracy’s double-crossing and deceitful case was known to Zanu-PF members years back and that is why she was expelled from the party. The masses saw through her treacherous flirtations with MDC-T and the Zanu-PF party after carrying out thorough investigations finally expelled her.
The way the private media reported about the whole issue was highly fabricated and distorted. She was expelled long and did not defect as some of the MDC-T members are doing in large numbers nationwide.
Most political parties are not immune to those who have abused power for selfish gain, those who have seriously impaired the party’s relations with the masses and those who like Tracy Mutinhiri have been at odds with the party politically all along and have merely pretended to be in agreement with it. Such corrupt people are divisive and represent serious defects in any party’s structures.
Many veteran party members become deeply worried about this situation and other people inside the party are likewise concerned and outraged about it. Party people have tended in recent years to be too tolerant, hesitant, tender-hearted and ready to gloss things over to avoid trouble, division and infighting within the party. Over the years, Zanu-PF party discipline has been lax that some rotten apples have been shielded.
Politics have changed significantly from that of the past twentieth century. The masses can no longer tolerate treacherous parliamentarians as well as those who have abused power for egoistic gain. Demonstrations which characterised the Zanu-PF District Co-ordinating Committee elections in Manicaland and Masvingo are a clear harbinger of what the electorate will do if the imposition of corrupt candidates goes on unchecked.
What is the purpose of participating in an election where the people’s preferred candidate is barred from competing?
Any political party can only survive or is assured of continuity if all party members, no matter who they are or what posts they hold, are prepared to take in criticism as well as step down if the masses no longer have confidence in them.
President Mugabe rightly summed it up at Cde Edison Ncube’s burial at the National Heroes Acre when he said: “Let the people judge you. If they do not like you, they do not like you. We do not want impositions. No!”
Aluta Continua! Economic empowerment in our life time!
Bowden B.C Mbanje and Darlington N. Mahuku are lecturers in International Relations, and Peace and Governance with Bindura University of Science Education.