Another good year for the Daily News

HARARE - While Zimbabweans at large continue to go through very trying times as the country’s economy continues to tank, it has been another good year for us at the Daily News and  Daily News On Sunday.

So good in fact that even our most rabid detractors and so-called critics have now all but zipped their mouths as we continue to lead where others follow and to report accurately and credibly on the fast-moving Zimbabwean story — like it is and without fear or favour, as our motto goes.

And yet after the Daily News’s violent and unjust closure by the government in September 2003, for eight long years, for the crime of telling the Zimbabwean story like it is, not many people ever envisaged that we would come back: let alone as successfully as we have done.

At the end of March next year, a mere three months from now, we will be  celebrating six productive and happy years since we came back to the market — a miracle that is no doubt a source of both awe and anguish for our few remaining haters!

It is little wonder therefore that many followers of the country’s Fourth Estate see the Daily News’s remarkable rebirth and self-evident sparkle as Zimbabwe’s greatest media story of all time.

But I’m digressing. What I really want to write about today is how the Daily News continues to lead the way in terms of breaking news and providing consistent, riveting analysis on issues that matter to all Zimbabweans — to the successful extent that industry peers who used to say we were wrong on all these issues have now seen the light and are enthusiastically joining us in the truth movement.

The scores of exclusive exposés that our inimitable daily and its sister publications, the Daily News on Sunday and the Weekend Post, have dished out to our hundreds of thousands of readers in print and online include Zanu PF’s infighting and Niiebgate.

For the better part of the past five years we were indeed a lone and much-maligned voice as we reported accurately on the ugly tribal, factional and succession wars devouring the former liberation movement.

For this courageous and much-needed journalism, our detractors excoriated us for “inventing” this rampant and destructive factionalism, including even when former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies were brutally purged from the ruling party on untested allegations of plotting to oust and assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

There were the usual and patently false cheap slurs that we were, in those early days, reporting allegedly true to our character as a supposed opposition newspaper out to destroy Zanu PF. We were also bizarrely accused of being unpatriotic and “anti-Zimbabwe”.

Now the obvious truth regarding Zanu PF’s savage infighting  is no longer a secret, and all our detractors to a man accept that we were always right.

Even ...Mugabe and State media readily and openly admit to the ugly brawls.

It was also the Daily News which broke the scandal which came to be known as Nieebgate, after it exposed suspect deals involving the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (Nieeb) and its parent ministry.

While the newspaper initially received a lot of flak from the ruling party and its apparatchiks, the paper was later vindicated when it was confirmed by the role players involved, including mining companies, that many things had not been done above board.

By all indications, this hot potato still has many legs and may well hog newspaper headlines again in 2017.

Zesagate was also one of the biggest scandals to ever rock the country, and it only came to light after the Daily News revealed that at a time that the power utility was on a nationwide campaign to disconnect defaulting ordinary consumers, Zesa was at the same time conveniently ignoring the huge bills of Zanu PF bigwigs, who were classified under the so-called “sensitive customers” category.

Among the biggest defaulters at the time were Mugabe, who owed a whopping $345 000 to the State-owned power firm, as well as Cabinet ministers, legislators and senior civil servants.

In this light, it is pleasing to note that the vast majority of Zimbabweans are beginning to appreciate the critical role of the country’s independent media in our nascent democracy.

Even the few Zanu PF bigwigs who had seemingly remained stuck in the Stone Age now respect the role of journalism in a budding democracy and understand that a patriotic media is not one which ignores corruption, incompetence and misrule.

Indeed, journalism is at its most useful to society and also at its most patriotic when it is challenging and probing, as the Daily News always does — not obsequious to our rulers.

We owe it to our nation to be a vigilant watchdog over those who wield power, no matter how uncomfortable this can sometimes be.

So, here is to more winning journalism in 2017!

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