Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo has lambasted people who view the observance of the rule of law and good governance as an attack by foreign enemies.
BY NDUDUZO TSHUMA
Speaking at the Business Environment Services (BES) graduation ceremony in Bulawayo on Friday, Moyo said such people forget that laws were crafted by Zimbabweans in Parliament.
Following his appointment, Moyo went on a drive to expose corruption at the State-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and other parastatals. The move did not go down well in the faction-ridden Zanu PF with some officials accusing Moyo of destroying the party from within.
“It is in my view almost given that if the profession of the media, which has been at the forefront of our divisions in the country, were to start using the constitution as the number one reference, there will be progress,” said Moyo.
“The second requirement which arises from the supremacy of the constitution is that our affairs must be governed by the rule of law and this is in our constitution and this is not supposed to be a problem.
“In our country, there are some people who if you tell them that ‘please observe the rule of law’, they think you are attacking them. They forget that we actually make these laws ourselves through the Parliament and that they are interpreted by our own courts.”
Moyo said there has been “an unfortunate feeling in certain quarters of our society that the rule of law is something that comes from outside the country that our enemies want to use against us”.
“The rule of law is recognition of the differences we have that we can’t use those differences as a reference for organising ourselves. That we need something in common and that one thing we should have in common is the law and that we should apply this law to the governance of our affairs equally without any discrimination; that there should be no selective application of the law or even non-application of the law,” he said.
Moyo said Zimbabweans have become their own worst enemies by treating things which were central to the objectives of the liberation struggle as external to the country.
He revealed that one media practitioner told him that there was a lot of factionalism going on that was creating problems in newsrooms.
“I realised that they were missing this issue of governance. The person who asked me that question was looking for a political answer when in fact there is no political answer, there is a professional answer and the professional answer is about governance,” he said.
“You are story tellers; to tell a story, there are five things that you need which are related to the governance question. You have to tell a complete story, not a half-baked story; you have to be factual in telling that story; you have got to be balanced, which means you have got to be objective, which means finally you have to be fair.
“If one of these things is missing, then you have a problem. If all of them are there, why would you worry about factionalism? A reporter who worries about factionalism is one who is unwilling to do these five things,” Moyo said.
He added that one who complies with the five things was an excellent reporter and “let the chips fall where they may if you are observing these five qualities but this is an area where today we have serious problems because if you are handling, for example, a story that has been quite topical in the media of corruption, you cannot adequately tell a story about corruption if you do not observe these five things”.
“If you do not have these five things, it then smacks of a hatchet job; it smacks of an agenda; a hidden agenda, but if you have these things then you have nothing to worry about,” Moyo said.