Scribes pay tribute to Shamuyarira

HARARE - Most journalists in Zimbabwe have described the late Nathan Shamuyarira as a sober man who was an honest broker of good relations between the media and the government but those in Matabeleland are still angry that he openly refused to apologise for the infamous Gukurahundi.

Political activist Tabani Moyo said Shamuyarira’s comments on Gukurahundi were some of the most unfortunate comments coming from a senior government official at that time.

“But that aside, I would like to think he is one of the most professional ministers of Information ever to come out of Zimbabwe. He knew the industry of journalism and employed the skills gained with honour.

“He was never a person to turn away journalists because they differed with his party orientation. In addition, you would never hear of him being part of the looting and plundering as is the norm with the present-day political gladiators.

“Actually, apart from the liberation roles he played, he opted to retire from government and political activity albeit being blocked by officialdom under the guise that, “it will send the wrong signal to the people”. “Therefore, if I am to rate him, he was a politician bigger than party politics, a national leader and served the country with honour,” added Moyo.

Pan Africanist Thomas Deve said Shamuyarira earned his niche as a good intellectual in the nationalist movement and carries the mark of deserting Zanu and joining Frolizi.

“The real issues of his remarks on the conflict with Zapu become irrelevant when we all look at the positive developments in the post December 22, 1987 Unity Accord.”

Legislator Jessie Majome said: “To be honest, I do not know much about him except that he is a quirk in Zanu PF in that he is the only one there who I have ever heard to voluntarily retire from politics. It is otherwise unheard of in Zanu PF.

She added that his Gukurahundi remarks were consistent with the Zanu PF propaganda that he was in charge “that seeks to insensitively and arrogantly cover up the Matabeleland atrocities.”

Brian Mangwende, Zimbabwe national editors’ chairman said while Shamuyarira’s contribution to Zimbabwe’s liberation and development were a matter of public record, he made a special contribution and left an indelible mark in our area of interest that is the media and journalism.

“Apart from having previously been a minister of Information who dealt directly with the media and journalists in a progressive way despite the challenges he faced during the subsistent state of emergency in the 80s which badly affected media operations, he made history during the colonial era when he was appointed founding editor of the African Daily News in 1956,” said Mangwende.

He said after, independence Shamuyarira continued to contribute to the local media as an Information minister who respected, maintained and pursued a friendly approach with the media and journalists.


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