Be careful how you read

via Be careful how you read | The Zimbabwean 10 September 2014 by Magari Mandebvu

For a long time I felt that Facebook had nothing to offer to someone of my age, as its main users seemed to be noisy exhibitionist teenagers, but I was eventually persuaded to try it. Five nieces and two nephews, scattered across three continents, with no indication that they were conspiring together, all invited me to join in the same fortnight. If that was the way to keep in touch with the younger generation, it seemed worth a try.

What I find there still sometimes alarms me. I can ignore the brashness and vulgarity of a lot of what appears there, because most of that seems to come and go again almost before you can read it. If it’s gone down some electronic equivalent of a rubbish chute, I won’t miss it.

On the other hand, a lot of material passes before you there and vanishes, if not down a chute, into a pile already so big that you will never be able to recover it long enough to read it properly and ask yourself a few relevant questions about it.

For example, a few weeks ago I saw a “list of the 50 richest Zimbabweans” but I didn’t note where it came from before it escaped from my view. It would have been very important to know who compiled such a list because it could influence how we, the public, view some of the players in the increasingly dirty struggle to take over power when Our Dear Leader goes to his reward, an event that comes nearer every day for each of us, even though we don’t know when it will arrive.

Before I believe this list is accurate, I need to know who compiled it and how they got their information. I cannot reclaim it now, and internal evidence suggests we are not meant to. The few successful legitimate business people are there; Masiiwa, Chanakira and co.; the Mujuru family have a place in the list, but four names of people you and I would put alongside them do not appear. Does anyone think we will believe that Nkosana Moyo (remember him?) is richer than those four missing names?

Who would want to spread that idea around? I don’t remember seeing any figures for how much each of those named owns. We need full statements of all their local and overseas bank accounts and of the property we have heard they own. If Cde X doesn’t actually own such-and-such a mine farm or mansion, maybe we need to know who does?

If this list is incomplete or inaccurate, who stands to gain by its publication?

If it is accurate, why did it appear so fleetingly that we could not ask important questions about its author and his sources?

Either way, who is trying to besmirch whose reputation, and what does he stand to gain from doing that?

Are we the author’s target audience? Maybe he’s aiming it at some potential outside supporters, from East or West. There are plenty who are looking for excuses to back a candidate for the top seat and secure some tokens of his or her gratitude before our Chinese friends make away with all our mineral wealth. Don’t forget the Chinese can defend themselves too.

Keep those questions in mind and ask them about every story you hear in the coming weeks: who says this? Where did they get their facts? Can they prove what they say? Who gains by spreading this story? What do they gain? Who is meant to lose by the spread of this tale?

If you can’t verify a story, it’s best to label it “rumour”, maybe adding a name it seems to promote or to undermine and put it aside. My guess is that most of those rumours will remain in your “rumours” file.

This is all getting too complex for me to make sense of it, but remember the price of freedom is constant vigilance.

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    Isu-zvedu 8 years ago

    Thank you. Very well said and good advice. Salute!

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    Its really very very simple. To know the 50 ” richest ” crooks in mugabeland just name the 50 biggest criminals !!!!!! Its an obvious non-brainer

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    Tongoona 8 years ago

    You are right, this forum is no longer the same since the old lady retired. Whosoever is managing it should not divert from the management style we got used to over the years. For example, while you read an interesting text, the text just rolls off and brings something one did not chose to read. It is disappointing to the extent it is a waste of time to participate in a forum where the same news is repeated for days and besides keeps rolling. Give us quality not quantity.

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    @Tongoona I think at this moment I am just happy we still have this website. I don’t think that those that are running it are doing a bad job. Maybe different management styles. I’ve always felt that articles must bring out the discussion in us rather than the discussion been on how the article is written. Some of the journalist where these articles are taken from seem a little raw. They will grow. I am sure they also read here to see our response to their articles. We also need more from the likes of Whande and Cathy Buckle as they bring different flavours to the table. Not forgetting Vince.On our side as well I simply enjoy the different flavours of the fire brand Avenger, Angela, Petal, Mixed race,the ever serious no nonesense Patti,cheeky Lindy lou and all the others that are here regularly. It is up to us to fire up these articles and bring out debate amongst our selves. Believe it or not I enjoyed when Murimi Wanhasi was around with NBS trying to convert him. It made for interesting reading. It would be bad for this type of a Forum to turn into a Band Wagon.@Tongoona please take this as a mild debate between you and I as there is no intention to offend or criticize.

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      Angela Wigmore 8 years ago

      I agree Dr DL: I think the current editors are doing a fine job – not that the previous ones did a bad one. We seem to get far more posts now and a lot of variation which give us all food for thought and a chance to put forward our, hopefully, reasoned comments. I would definitely miss this forum where we can learn what is going on in our country and what our peers think.

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    I, too, appreciate Zim Sit and this forum. You put it well Doc

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    Parangeta 8 years ago

    These are the major thives in Zimbabwe,
    the others cannot be reliably traced.

    Their accounts are in the Caymans, Zurich,
    Singapore and Dubai.
    More than 75% though, are not in the private sector,
    oh! what a surprise.

    Cry My Beloved Country!