HARARE - Zimbabwe's lickspittle State media fully embody the proverbial principle of “seeing no evil, hearing no evil and speaking no evil”.
Turning a blind eye to, and abetting the legendary misrule of Zanu PF bigwigs is their indisputable stock-in-trade.
Indeed, they never ever dare to question their master’s voice.
Contemptibly and also ominously given our experience of the past two decades, bashing the country’s independent media is their only other speciality, apart from abetting the country’s tinpot dictatorship.
This week alone, both ZBC and Zimpapers — publishers of The Herald, the Sunday Mail and the Chronicle — have gone berserk criticising the private media, and trotting out the usual troop of pseudo-academics and so-called analysts (in effect hired guns and rabid Zanu PF apparatchiks), to augment this disgraceful hatchet job.
The crime that newspapers such as the Daily News have committed in the eyes of these enemies of Zimbabwe’s nascent democracy is that we continue to tell it like it is, without fear or favour, as our motto goes.
This has seen all the now familiar, well-worn and disgraceful fabrications routinely and crassly being thrown at us.
These range from we are “anti-Zimbabwe” and unpatriotic (whatever that means); we are allegedly “opposition media”; we are supposedly “Western-sponsored”; and under-fire former Vice President Joice Mujuru has bought a non-existent 10 percent shareholding in our newspaper.
It is frankly disgusting the extent to which this regime and its minions will abuse State apparatus and lie so blatantly to hoodwink some gullible Zimbabweans in their bid to extend their misrule.
Just the other day we even had The Herald, of all media on Planet Earth, lecturing the independent media about their allegedly biased content.
What tragi-comic irony!
No wonder President Robert Mugabe can fly back from his long and costly State-funded holiday in the Far East and go into a mindless rant against hapless former Presidential Affairs minister, Didymus Mutasa, instead of focussing on the many urgent challenges facing Zimbabwe as a direct result of his administration’s ineptitude. And still get away with it.
Instead, the ever faithful State media focus on the “evil” West, so-called sanctions, white commercial farmers, Morgan Tsvangirai, Mujuru, Mutasa and the independent media — which are all pathetic Zanu PF ruses to try and explain away the party’s gross corruption, misrule and incompetence of the past 35 years!
In our case, we have warned many times before that the malicious and egregiously false claims against us, including those by quarrelsome First Lady Grace Mugabe that Mujuru supposedly owns a 10 percent stake in the Daily News, are ominous.
Indeed, police — clearly moving at the behest of “Calamity Grace” — obtained a court order from Harare Provincial Magistrate Vakayi Douglas Chikwekwe on December 18, 2014, authorising them to storm and seize key documents pertaining to the ownership of our newspaper.
The court order directed them to search for details of our shareholders — information that is easily obtainable from the Registrar of Companies and from 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 suspect and pointless.
Indeed, our newspaper and its staff have operated under incessant threats and pressure from Zanu PF bigwigs since it came back, including facing hundreds of millions of dollars in vexatious lawsuits, many of which never even reach the courts.
And until Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s contested electoral victories in 2013, 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.
This is why we say for us the ramifications of the government’s and Grace’s lies are potentially severe — because we have many painful experiences at the rough hands of Mugabe’s government.
First, our staff were harassed and imprisoned willy-nilly in our early years, and when this did not yield the desired results, our printing press was completely destroyed in a barbaric bombing in January 2001 — that was widely believed to have been carried out by State agents who were never brought to book for their dastardly act.
And finally, Mugabe’s government contrived to shut down the Daily News violently and unjustly in September 2003, after it enacted a legal instrument solely for this morbid purpose. The paper was only able to return to the market in late March 2011.
Sadly, history has recorded that some of the worst excesses of Zanu PF’s well-documented misrule of the past 35 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 ongoing attacks and harassment directed at us is thus intended to silence us, so that the hyenas in power can continue to loot, rape and pillage the country with reckless abandon — without fear of ever being exposed.
That won’t happen.