“ARE you attacking me?’’
‘‘No, Mr Mangoma,’’ the student calmly replied; ‘‘you are being attacked by facts.’’
We were reminded of this hilarious exchange between a Ghanaian university student and the then deputy national treasurer-general of the MDC-T, Elton Steers Mangoma, at an anti-Zimbabwe gathering the MDC had convened on June 28, 2007 at Teacher’s Hall in Accra in a bid to whip anti-Zimbabwe sentiment ahead of President Mugabe’s visit for Ghana’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations.
The student’s poignant response is our riposte to Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo and Zanu-PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere who have been at the forefront of abusing our paper and its staffers simply for doing their jobs.
No! We are not attacking you comrades. You are being attacked by facts. You surely can’t will us to cover your nakedness whenever you are caught pants down. Your unwarranted attacks and veiled threats on our paper and its staffers are, however, no laughing matter particularly when they take the form of charging at, and calling our reporters ‘‘sons of b*****s’’!
The shocking incident, which occurred on the sidelines of a Command Agriculture Field Day at Chaminuka Training Centre in Mt Darwin, saw Minister Kasukuwere calling our senior reporter, Fellex Share, “a son-of-a b***h’’.
A few hours later, Prof Moyo issued a rambling statement in response to the lead story in our sister paper, The Sunday Mail that revealed that despite his frenzied attacks on the Command Agriculture Programme, he was one of the programme beneficiaries with probably the best crop in Mashonaland Central Province.
Despite admitting to benefiting from Command Agriculture, Prof Moyo still had the temerity to label us ‘‘command liars’’.
It should be pointed out from the outset that the stories that have torched the unwarranted attacks on The Herald and its staff were not fabrications, but well-sourced articles to which the two ministers were, in fact, put to their defence. We highlight a few examples below.
We all know Prof Moyo is under investigation from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on allegations of misappropriating Zimdef funds and has been on a spirited campaign against the Command Agriculture Programme.
But in his wisdom, but obviously lack of it, we should not have written about these issues. We should have ignored the corruption investigation, ignored Vice President Mnangagwa and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made’s appraisals of the Command Agriculture Programme in favour of the diatribes on his Twitter handle as if Government policy is announced on Twitter.
The same goes for Kasukuwere, he would rather have had us ignore that President Mugabe asked him what happened to land meant for residential stands for youths that he had reportedly sold to the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries. In his self-importance, Kasukuwere would rather have had us turn a deaf ear to complaints by Women’s League members that he, along with Shadreck Mashayamombe, were busy trying to sabotage last week’s demonstrations against deputy secretary for Women’s Affairs Eunice Sandi Moyo and treasurer, Sarah Mahoka despite testimonies from Women’s League members.
Well we have news for these two bullies, and others of like mind: To us journalism is as British writer George Orwell put it, writing what someone does not want written with everything else qualifying for public relations.
Since we are not in the business of public relations, it follows that our duty is to educate, inform and entertain our readers.
Our mandate is to tell the truth and not to assuage the egos of insecure politicians.
As long as you make news Comrades, you will find yourselves on the pages.
And the infantile threats, well, they do not deter us at all!