HARARE - Media and political analysts have waded into the controversy surrounding the savage and brutal attack on the minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Jonathan Moyo by President Robert Mugabe over among other issues, the appointment of new editors at the State-run Zimpapers.
Mugabe claimed during the funeral of national hero, Nathan Shamuyarira on Friday and Saturday that Moyo was sowing seeds of acrimony in Zanu and described him as “devil incarnate” who had come to destroy the party from within. He accused Moyo of appointing MDC sympathisers to positions of editors at Zimpapers.
Our Assistant Editor, Maxwell Sibanda spoke to media and political analysts who rallied behind Moyo.
Controversial playwright Cont Mhlanga said Zanu PF had all along believed that the State media belonged to their party and not the public.
“The Zanu PF politburo has always been of the belief that the State media belonged to them, hence they want it to behave like a party media.
They turned ZBC into a party broadcaster and believe those refusing to toe their line of thinking and ideologies are out of order. That conception is wrong and dangerous.
“It is wrong to link the editors to the opposition parties and you cannot deny those who once worked for independent media the right to work for the State media,” said Mhlanga.
“It is not actually the public complaining about these State media editors and the content therein, but some self-serving members of the politburo are there to serve their selfish egos.
“Those comments by president Mugabe were not driven by national interest but represented the thoughts of a fraction of members of his politburo that wants only those close to Zanu PF to work for the State media so that they can push their agendas.”
“But that has been Mugabe’s politics since 1980, of divide and rule. He has on several times taken sides with factions and it seems to work for him.”
“They are friends (Mugabe and Moyo) today and tomorrow they are shouting at each other. Mugabe has hired Moyo and fired him, then rehired him. Theirs is a special relationship and I do not see him firing him at all.”
“You could see that there was frustration as Mugabe tried to compare the two — Shamuyarira being the royal one who fought the liberation war alongside him while Moyo is among the young crop that joined the bandwagon on the way.”
Tabani Moyo, speaking on behalf of Misa-Zimbabwe said the comments on the State editors and media were unfortunate comments coming from a head of State especially at a time everyone is supporting the harnessing of the media.
“There is no need to antagonise the press at this time and it is wrong to attack journalists because they are there to report on stories and they are not political stoogies.
“Journalists, either from The Herald or the Daily News should be associated with either Zanu PF or MDC. Journalists should not write stories based on party affiliation or politics of parties,” added Moyo.
Media practitioner Rashweat Mkundu said Mugabe’s labelling of State editors as anti-Zanu PF were misplaced.
“The anti-Zanu PF cry by Mugabe does not hold at all and it is being used to victimise and cow the journalists.
“Zanu PF’s wish is to turn State newspapers into their own newsletters while the broadcaster turns into their propaganda machines.”
“What I read from his outbursts is the frustration within his party over media reports about the country’s performance and corruption.
“It is journalists’ democratic right to move from one media house to another and there is no need for any victimisation,” added Mkundu.
Legislator Jessie Majome says it is strange that the same president who assented into law the Constitution whose Section 61(4) requires all State-owned media to be impartial and free to determine their editorial content who, wants it to be Zanu PF biased.
“Also, Section 90 of the same Constitution he assented to gives him primarily the duty to uphold, obey, defend, and respect it, as well as promote the unity of Zimbabweans and respect their diversity,” said Majome.
Media practitioner Takura Zhangazha said in another world, such a public admonishment by Mugabe of his appointee would have led to a resignation.
“In the case of Moyo he may be holding out in the hope that this will be soon a forgotten incident but the fact of the matter is that his tenure as minister has been rendered ineffective for the foreseeable future. He now literally serves not at the pleasure but the mercy of the president,” said Zhangazha.