We will not be silenced

HARARE - We warned in a front page editorial in October last year that the malicious and egregiously false claims by quarrelsome First Lady Grace Mugabe, that former Vice President Joice Mujuru owned a 10 percent stake in the Daily News, portended worse State harassment to come for the newspaper.

And it is all coming to pass.

Police — clearly moving at the behest of “Hurricane Grace” — obtained a court order from Harare Provincial Magistrate Vakayi Douglas Chikwekwe on December 18, 2014, authorising them to search and seize key documents pertaining to the ownership of the newspaper’s parent company, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ).

And on Tuesday this week, two police officers from the CID law and order section stormed the company’s Harare offices, armed with the warrant of seizure.

The court order directed them to search for details of ANZ’s shareholders — information that is easily obtainable from the Registrar of Companies and from statutory media regulation body, the Zimbabwe Media Commission.

Even more surprising, a casual perusal of the warrant of seizure itself suggested that they already had this information anyway, rendering their mission wholly pointless.

And most revealingly, the court order said “an offence of criminal abuse of office as defined in section 174 of the Criminal law codification and Reform Act has been committed” — a murky allegation that Mujuru’s Zanu PF enemies have consistently hurled at her.

Which is why Grace cannot escape culpability for our familiar, but painful harassment.

Grace first made the outrageous claim that Mujuru had bought the fictitious stake in the country’s leading daily newspaper while addressing one of her controversial “Meet the People” rallies at her vast Mazowe business hub in late October last year — which was utter and almost pitiably-false horse manure.

A week earlier, the increasingly influential Grace heartlessly incited Zanu PF supporters against journalists from the newspaper at another rally in Marondera, alleging that the country’s number one media brand was being used by her political detractors to wage a war against her.

Indeed, the newspaper and its staff have operated under incessant threats and pressure from Zanu PF bigwigs since it came back, including facing hundreds of millions (in American dollars nogal) in vexatious lawsuits, 99 percent of which never even reach the courts.

Until Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s contested electoral victories last year, the newspaper was also banned from circulating in certain parts of the country, with its editorial staff often still barred from covering some State functions.

Zanu PF apparatchiks have also routinely lied, in a vain bid to discredit the newspaper, that it was dependent on Western donor funding.

We pity commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri and his much-abused police force, as they have to do the bidding for political opportunists who choose to see ghosts where none exist.

And for the record and avoidance of doubt, neither Mujuru nor any of her associates has a single share either directly or indirectly in the Daily News.

While we are obviously flattered to continue learning officially that we are not just followed closely, but also taken seriously by the crème de la crème of the country’s VIPs such as Grace, and that our titles occupy such a hallowed place in the body politic of our country as to sometimes induce unfounded hallucinations, it is nevertheless still worrying that blatant and malicious lies such as the First Lady’s can result in formal police investigations.

Surely, police know that Grace’s toxic and malicious snake-oil political conspiracies of the past few months were solely meant to destroy and annihilate Solomon Mujuru’s hapless widow?

Of course, for us the ramifications of Grace’s destructive game and lies are potentially severe, given our painful experience at the rough hands of her husband’s government.

First, our staff were harassed and imprisoned willy-nilly in our early years, at the direct instigation of many in the motley crew that now makes up the backbone of Grace’s Zanu PF faction and support.

And when this did not yield the desired results, our printing press was completely destroyed in a barbaric bombing in January 2001, and that was widely believed to have been carried out by State agents.

And finally, the same cast of anarchists who bootlick and micromanage Grace so damagingly for the country, contrived to shut down the Daily News violently and unjustly in September 2003, after they enacted a legal instrument solely for this morbid purpose. The paper was only able to return to the market in late March 2011.

History has recorded that some of the worst excesses of Zanu PF’s well-documented misrule of the past 34 years occurred around the time that the Daily News was out of circulation, including Operation Murambatsvina, a record hyperinflation and the vengeful murders of opposition supporters that followed Mugabe’s stunning loss to Morgan Tsvangirai in the disputed 2008 elections.

The current harassment is intended to silence Zimbabwe’s number one watchdog, so that those in power can loot, rape and pillage with reckless abandon — without fear of being exposed.

That won’t happen.

And yes, let no one be fooled. Worse is to come — and the Daily News won’t be the only victim of these rampant hyenas!

 

Comments (5)

Go on Daily News we are behind you as progressive Zimbabweans this country is not for a kakistocratic hare-brained minority who think they wield everything in their hands for personal aggrandizement.keep on watching and reporting them that when the day of the jackal comes they will not be judged without proof

carson Macate - 4 January 2015

The shameless, unsubstantiated and spiteful 10 percent, shareholding-holding in ANZ (Mujuru continued, smearing campaign to completely demote her plus an intimidation on the Daily News), is meant to plant evidence per "Hurricane DiGrace's" psychosis thinking. The scam, is supposed to be an easy job for her Lap-dog (ZRP), in routing out the Daily. However, as everybody knows, the Registration of Companies is done at the Registrar General's Office and the information is kept there. Unless one is bent on blackmailng or use the information for subversive activities, the legal one is obtained there. This is supposed to be a neutral place - Government Office.

Yepec - 5 January 2015

Mhata yaChihuri. This clearly shows lack of seriousness and clearly this is bootlicking de grace. Such has been the face of zim politics unfortunately those in public post which they ascended to by bootlicking the politicians themselves incompetent can only perform this shameless and foolish acts. We stand in support of the one voice of truth we hae been in support. It is daily news that got to see the light in zim politics back then in 2002, I was a student at uz, after a student demo in which students were brutaly attacked by riot and there two death s herald was mum on the realities and seem to blame us students. I took the decision not to feed my mind with blatant lies, and its not only me a number of people we moved by your writing So I say continue with the good work

thulani@gmail.com - 7 January 2015

Mhata yaChihuri. This clearly shows lack of seriousness and clearly this is bootlicking de grace. Such has been the face of zim politics unfortunately those in public post which they ascended to by bootlicking the politicians themselves incompetent can only perform this shameless and foolish acts. We stand in support of the one voice of truth we hae been in support. It is daily news that got to see the light in zim politics back then in 2002, I was a student at uz, after a student demo in which students were brutaly attacked by riot and there two death s herald was mum on the realities and seem to blame us students. I took the decision not to feed my mind with blatant lies, and its not only me a number of people we moved by your writing So I say continue with the good work

thulani@gmail.com - 7 January 2015

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.