Private media stoking fires of violence

While it is a democratic right for newspapers like the Daily News to come up with such stories for the benefit of their readers, it is wrong for a national paper to advocate violence and anarchy

While it is a democratic right for newspapers like the Daily News to come up with such stories for the benefit of their readers, it is wrong for a national paper to advocate violence and anarchy

John Mukumbo Correspondent
Reading stories from the private media last week, and not last week only but every time and again, one could not appreciate what the private media stands for in the country.

Their line of thinking is that of a country in crisis and that any violence propagated by the so-called human rights defenders and their surrogates is necessary.

The private media has now become the spokesperson of opposition groups as well as the so called rights groups.

Last week witnessed a mockery and abuse of freedom of expression which is enshrined in the Constitution by the private media and its sponsors when they connived to come up with stories headlined like this: “Opposition condemns police brutality against demonstrators,” (NewsDay January 7, 2016); “Rights groups slam government over demos,” (Daily News January 7, 2016); “Is zanu-pf turning into a de facto terrorist organisation?” (NewsDay January 7, 2016) and finally, “Zim political tension rises,” (Daily News January 7, 2016).

While it is their democratic right to come up with such stories for the benefit of their readers, it is wrong for a national paper to advocate violence in the country.

Why is it that the so-called opposition groups found time to blame the police force when it was doing its national duty of maintaining peace in the country? Why is it that the same opposition groups cannot see that violence is counterproductive if they are not part and parcel of such a demonic act? The opposition groups have no right to blame the police when the force is bringing sanity in the country.

What the police did last week in dealing with illegal demonstrations was good and no sane Zimbabwean can blame the police for bringing sanity in the country.

In fact, those demonstrators were hooligans who wanted to tarnish the image of the rural teachers and the police was right to deal with them as a way of bringing peace in the country.

People cannot be hoodwinked into believing that the demonstrators were the rural teachers who had travelled all the way from their remote centres to come and demonstrate in Harare during schools holiday.

The timing of the demonstrators showed that it was members of the opposition groups and their sympathisers who wanted to cause confusion in the country in the name of the rural teachers, hence, the intervention of the police.

One also wonders about the so called rights groups who support illegal activities to go unchecked when everyone is for peace in the country.

The rights groups should have advised the illegal demonstrators to stop being confrontational with the police.

They are quite aware that the constitution allows demonstrations once the police have cleared them. But surprisingly the so called rural teachers wanted to by-pass such an important requirement as a way of inviting public sympathy.

So if any group decides to go against what the constitution stands for, the police cannot fold their arms and keep quiet while the constitution is being violated.

The police has a duty to deal with unruly behaviour in the country and the so called rural teachers who staged an illegal demonstrations in Harare last week got what they deserved.

The so called rights groups had no right to blame Government and the police over such issues.

For the same reason, the private media should guard against stories which have no moral standing in the country.

They should not keep writing stories that are counterproductive and causing confusion in the country.

Even the claim by the same private media questioning the integrity of zanu-pf in the country in handling violence issues and wanting to tell their readers that zanu-pf is a de facto terrorist organisation.

The ruling party cannot be said to be a de facto terrorist organisation when it is not interfering with the police in its duties of dealing with perpetrators of violence in the country.

Actually the opposition political parties who support violence in the country are the de facto terrorist organisations because they are good at advocating for violence in the country.

It is also the opposition who always plan and come up with illegal demonstrations so that they would later claim that Zimbabwe is in crisis. In fact, the opposition groups celebrate any hardships that befall the people in the country as they always see that as an opportunity to harvest more supporters as a result of such a calamity.

Any commotion and suffering in the country by people gives the opposition groups the opportunity to get more support as any chaotic situation in the country is blamed on the ruling party, zanu-pf.

Tichaona Zindoga, writing in an opinion piece in The Herald of January 12, 2016 titled, “MDC-T: Hoping for bumper harvest from drought”, sums it all when he says; “It is a matter of record that the opposition in Zimbabwe thrives on the suffering of the people and that is why the MDC invited sanctions against the country which caused untold hardships, death and disease that nearly ended up in a humanitarian disaster in 2007-8”.

So it is an open secret that the opposition and the so-called rights groups do not see anything good from Government in general and the ruling party in particular but enjoy a lot when the people are suffering.

They are now using the private media to create a scenario which portrays a country in crisis and chaos as a way of inviting support on their side.

It is the opposition and those so called rights groups who incite innocent and unemployed youths to carry out illegal demonstrations in the country to create violence so that they get something to say when the police act against such illegality.

For that reason Zimbabweans should not be misled by the fly-by-night politicians who have no strong tape root that can withstand the political turbulent in the country, but can be easily swept away like dew once the sun rises.

So people should realise that together, Zimbabweans can overcome all problems that the country is facing and divided we can fall.

Mukumbo is a political commentator based in Harare.

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