Govt releases positive signals

HARARE - Two symbolic and important developments which took place over the past few days have given Zimbabweans a glimmer of hope that our beloved country will not implode completely after all — as is widely feared, with good reason, in some sections of the populace.

In a welcome change of tack, the government took the nation into its confidence on Wednesday, announcing openly and officially that President Robert Mugabe had left the country for a medical check-up in Singapore.

Previously, the president’s health — as important as it is to the welfare of the entire nation — had ill-advisedly been kept a major State secret: often leading to wild and unnecessary speculation about his fitness, with a few twisted souls going to the crass extent of claiming falsely that he had died.

In the second, but no less refreshing development earlier in the week, Mugabe was moved by a comment which the country’s most influential newspaper, the Daily News, wrote in its Monday edition — regarding how Zanu PF honours him on his birthdays — resulting in the president thanking the popular daily for its winning and inimitable journalism.

In the editorial in question, Zimbabwe’s leading newspaper brand encouraged those who organise the 21st February Movement celebrations to stop hosting lavish bashes for Mugabe, and to instead use all the substantial monies that they raise annually for this purpose for worthier causes.

In a surprise telephone call to the Daily News on behalf of the president, Gushungo’s spokesperson George Charamba said: “President Mugabe read the whole comment you wrote and clapped his hands saying the Daily News, although very critical, had conveyed a good message not only to him as an individual but to the people of Zimbabwe as well.

“He (Mugabe) said I must contact you to express his appreciation of the advice you gave him . . . The president agrees with many of the concerns you raised in the editorial and promised that the next events will be better organised, especially on the need to raise money for the underprivileged.

“He asked me to tell you that he is a leader who listens to good advice, no matter where it is coming from”.

Hear, hear!

Part of the Daily News’ comment had read: “We want to recommend a different way in which Zimbabweans should honour him (Mugabe), to help heal our troubled country and also sway the hearts of those who wish him ill.

“There is no doubt that the 21st birthday movement is now associated with controversy, excess and factionalism, with many of those tasked with managing this annual jamboree seemingly hellbent on advancing their own narrow interests rather than celebrating Gushungo and his life, or advancing national goals.

“Why for example, was money not raised this year in the president’s name to help the many victims of Cyclone Dineo in Matabeleland, instead of holding a divisive feast in the province which did little to lift Gushungo’s name and advance the interests of all Zimbabweans?”.

Apart from the pleasing confirmation that the president reads, respects and is alive to our sometimes critical, but well-meaning journalism at the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday, an even more important aspect of his unexpected praise was that the CEO of Zim Incorporated now fully appreciates the critical watchdog role of the independent media.

This is massively important for us at the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday, as well as the industry at large, and Zimbabwe as a whole — particularly given our sad experience 14 years ago when we were unjustly shut down by the government for telling the Zimbabwean story like it is, without fear or favour, and as we continue to do.

History has since recorded that some of Zanu PF’s worst excesses occurred around the time that the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday were out of circulation — including Operation Murambatsvina and the wanton murders of opposition supporters which accompanied the disputed 2008 presidential election.

It is in this light that Zimbabweans ought to give the president credit for his move, of course with a rider that he now impresses it on his few litigious and outrightly malicious lieutenants, who continue to harass and abuse the media, to follow his laudable example.

To recap, our hope — like those of many other long-suffering Zimbabweans who have got in touch with us over the past week — is that these two key developments will one day be seen by all citizens as marking the beginning of a renaissance of good sense, equitable governance and progress in our troubled country.

Comments (7)

Too little too late I'm afraid. I think those whose livelihood depends on RGM can see that the inevitable end of their lavish lifestyles is nigh and are now desperately looking for firends. Well, I hope they find none. Their "affluence" is the reason why poverty is so rampant why and how do they now become friends of those they impoverished? Its payback time brace for it.

Sharia - 3 March 2017

The old man is very clever and is playing it nice and easy. Having already spoken about his successor while slamming the door shut on his two VPs ; he is trying to manage the transition process without rocking the boat. Hats off to the old man. He is very smart. Smarter than the majority of people think

Ngazvirehwe Sezvazviri - 3 March 2017

The old man is very clever and is playing it nice and easy. Having already spoken about his successor while slamming the door shut on his two VPs ; he is trying to manage the transition process without rocking the boat. Hats off to the old man. He is very smart. Smarter than the majority of people think

Ngazvirehwe Sezvazviri - 3 March 2017

Daily News makungoita kutsvaga zvakanaka zvamunganyore about this evil and heartless ZANU regime all because of the so called thank you that you got from uncle Bob. In all fairness, what can be positive about announcing that Robert has gone to Singapore on a chartered flight? Our relatives are dying at Pari and Mpilo nekuti ma doctors are on strike, thanks to mismanagement of the country by Bob. Imagine how many doctors could be paid ne mari irikushandiswa on that Singapore trip....

Alex Svosve - 4 March 2017

It seems he has learnt from Morgan that leaders can tell their followers that they are sick . on the issue of daily news he is just flattering you nothing more to talk about we know this old guy he never mean what he says unless if it is violence of course . Please do not get carried away by that and you must open your eyes and ears you will discover that they is something behind his comments watch out and be ware of a menemene

Diibulaanyika - 4 March 2017

They say 'keep your friends close and your enemies very close' pakaipa!

Rodger - 5 March 2017

They say 'keep your friends close and your enemies very close' pakaipa!

Rodger - 5 March 2017

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