PHEW! In a few days it will be Christmas and in another few days we will bid goodbye to another year that we will not forget in a hurry.
Year 2004 will no doubt g
o down in history as the year in which the final nails in the coffin of human rights and its Siamese twin — democracy — were hammered in.
After the forced closure of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday in September 2003, this year saw the Mother of all Farces as the owners of the paper went to the Supreme Court to appeal against the closure only to be advised to go home and wait for the judgement. That was in February. And the year is coming to an end without the judgement.
It’s a shame that in a country where the judiciary is said to be independent and presumably in favour of the advancement of democracy, a matter like the re-opening of the two newspapers, which would be treated as a matter of urgency even in celebrated autocracies like Uganda, is left to rot on the Supreme Court shelves in Samora Machel Avenue.
Worse still was the closure of another timid but privately-owned paper, the Tribune.
The gravity of the matter is amplified by the fact that the closure of the paper went hand in glove with the suspension and failed bid to expel the publisher, Kindness Paradza, MP for Makonde, from his party by overzealous hounds in the ruling Zanu PF for attacking the draconian laws and mourning the closure of the Daily News. In a really practical democracy, such a thing should not have been allowed to happen.
The Parliament of Zimbabwe, working almost as a subsidiary of Zanu PF, has also ended the year the way it started it — subjecting the people of Zimbabwe to a siege last seen in the late 1990s.
A coterie of laws have been passed with the combined effect of incapacitating people from breaking free from the bondage of the war-mongers in the ruling party.
These include the amended Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act, the amended Aippa and the NGO Bill, without taking away any of the evil credit due to their original forms, and Posa.
The only flicker of light in the inkwell is that one man has been prevented from becoming the vice-president of the country — thanks to the Zanu PF Women’s League.
The effective exclusion of Emmerson Mnangagwa from the post, which went to Joyce Mujuru, is a good development in the country.
Mujuru, as far as we know, is not tainted with blood and could be instrumental in turning the two old men above her — President Mugabe and Joseph Msika — from their method of campaigning in elections.
The same have a method of campaign which makes anyone who fails to raise a fist in support of Zanu PF a very good candidate for the grave. But Mujuru, we might remember, is the same woman in whose constituency is situated the major source of worry for most peace lovers’ headaches — that monster called Border Gezi Training Centre where the most murderous thugs get perfection in the methods of torture — physical and mental.
Can we trust her to soften the hearts of her bloodthirsty subordinates?
Probably the most positive and important development in the country at the moment is the exclusion of Professor Jonathan Moyo from the ruling party’s decision-making bodies — and most likely from the cabinet.
The guy, who is arguably the most hated man in the country at the moment, seems destined for the political scrap heap.
The biggest winners in the country are the journalists and we celebrate with them. Meanwhile, we wait to see how the architect of the terror endured by the media in Zimbabwe goes down.
Personally, I would advise him to go down with a whimper. Zanu PF chiooro (can really fix people).