via The decision is yours, George – The Zimbabwean 15.10.2015
George Charamba, the permanent secretary for information, has been threatening the independent media in Zimbabwe.
He is unhappy that they have been reporting the on-going internecine warfare in Zanu (PF).
It is quite clear to anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear that as President Robert Mugabe stumbles into the twilight of his life, his lieutenants are scrambling desperately to position themselves to take over. It’s literally a life or death struggle. Some of them are old men and women and know that they have no chance of securing another job should their preferred candidate fail to secure the top job.
George cannot deny that there is factionalism in Zanu (PF). Grace Mugabe herself has admitted that there is. Party officials talk about it all the time. They even tweet about it and insult each other as well as leak information to the media left, right and centre. War veterans minister Chris Mutsvangwa gave an interview to a South African newspaper last week in which he attacked the so-called Generation 40 faction.
Higher education minister Jonathan Moyo has taken pot shots at Vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa on Twitter. What does George expect the media to do? Not report about it because it makes him and his boss unhappy? Or should they do what any newspaper in the world would do – report the facts as they unfold.
Our advice is to George is clear: tell your boss to order the warring parties to shut up. Then we will have nothing to report. But for as long as they are talking about it, it is open season.
Bringing in new draconian legislation to muzzle the press, in this day and age when social media abounds, is futile. It will only reinforce the global perception that Zimbabwe is run by an antiquated dictatorship, out of step with its own people and the modern technology they have embraced along with the rest of the world.
Freedom of expression and access to information in cyberspace is now the order of the day – governments can no longer hide information. Everybody knows there is going to be life after Mugabe, so the contestation for power that is going on is only to be expected. In any other society it would be perfectly normal.
Trying to pretend that all is well in Zanu (PF) is a futile exercise. The decision is theirs – the party must solve the succession issue. Shooting the messenger will not help anybody.