HomeOpinion & AnalysisThe facts get in the way at the Herald

The facts get in the way at the Herald

THE Herald has once again demonstrated why it cannot be trusted to provide balanced news and information of national interest.

We were able to get another insight of the paper’s culture of deceit in its Tuesday issue.  While reporting on Sadc’s deliberations in Namibia, the paper told us that leaders of the regional bloc had hailed Zimbabwe leaders for “setting aside sectarian interests for nation building”.
The paper did not tell us that the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security had expressed its unhappiness on the failure by the same leaders to resolve outstanding issues of the global political agreement (GPA). The propaganda broadsheet unashamedly decided to conceal public information by ignoring to tell its readers that the inclusive government was directed to come up with a roadmap leading to free and fair polls.
We would have wanted The Herald to tell us that the Sadc Council of Ministers was also unhappy with Zimbabwe’s refusal to obey rulings by the Windhoek-based Sadc Tribunal on land disputes.
The incoming chairperson of the Sadc Council of Ministers Hage Geingob, who is also Namibia’s Minister of Trade and Industry, did not have kind words on Harare’s refusal to obey rulings that declared the land reform programme illegal and racist.
“When the ruling was made from here about the farmers, people were saying the Windhoek ruling as if Windhoek owns the Sadc Tribunal. The court is your court that is based here,” Geingob told journalists.
“People say Namibians are against Zimbabweans or President Mugabe, but we signed the Sadc Treaty, Zimbabwe signed and if you sign, there are obligations that come with signing and we will say this to Zimbabwe, but diplomatically of course.”
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa should have heard this. We have heard him and his colleagues say the tribunal’s rulings are a “day dream” and he continued singing the same hymn this week.
Chinamasa and the hardliners went on to declare the country was no longer going to be bound by any of its rulings.  Are the chickens coming home to roost?
Despite Chinamasa’s machinations aimed at misleading Zimbabweans about the tribunal, we all know the regional court was formed in 2003 by a Sadc Treaty signed by regional governments. Its duty is to provide legal recourse to issues from aggrieved regional citizens who would not have received satisfactory court rulings in their own countries.
The Sadc Council of Ministers now fully understands why the European Union and other Western countries have imposed sanctions and other punitive measures on Mugabe and his inner circle. They do not observe the rule of law, pure and simple!
Can Chinamasa tell us what was suspended in Windhoek? Was it the Sadc Tribunal or deliberations on Zimbabwe snubbing the tribunal’s rulings?

Despite that glaring evidence of Zimbabwe’s inclination to ignore the rule of law, Sadc will, for the sake of the suffering masses of Zimbabwe, continue to make great efforts to have the sanctions removed.  
A United States senator now also wants the punitive measures removed. Jim Inhofe, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, has proposed that Congress come up with the Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act of 2010 that seeks to lift economic sanctions and travel restrictions against Mugabe and his inner circle imposed in 2001.
We hope Mugabe and his Zanu PF party will complement these efforts by playing their part, restoring democracy in Zimbabwe and ensuring people’s liberties are respected. This includes allowing Zimbabweans to freely contribute their views during constitution-making outreach meetings in the countryside.
Fearful villagers in Chipinge and Nyanga have devised a whistle strategy to combat increasing attacks from Zanu PF thugs and war veterans, as the police standby, refusing to come to their aid.
“Local people have now devised this strategy of whistling, so that they mobilise each other in the event of an attack. This is because the attacks are being done by very few people who do not have the local support. There is strength in numbers,” said Douglas Mwonzora, the national co-chairperson of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee, on Monday.
“Once a person is attacked or an attack is imminent, they whistle; those who hear the whistle also whistle while advancing towards the location of the first whistle, so there will be a lot of whistling. Firstly it puts off the attacker and confuses the attacker. It then mobilises people towards the person being attacked.”

It seems The Herald reporters never miss an opportunity to distort information in service of their handlers even when such information is provided in front of witnesses. A case in point was the press luncheon given by the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia Eddy Poerwana last Wednesday. Responding to a question from a Newsday journalist on whether he thought the Western envoys who walked out of the burial ceremony of Sabina Mugabe were correct, the Ambassador said in terms of diplomatic etiquette the envoys were wrong to walk out the way they did, but added that so was President Mugabe for using a solemn occasion such as a funeral ceremony to make a political statement of the nature he made. But, of course, it would have been expecting too much of The Herald that they could include the last part of Ambassador Poerwana’s remarks. The Herald report last Thursday simply stated that Poerwana had slammed his Western colleagues for walking out of the funeral ceremony.

Why are Swazi authorities persecuting a youth activist for reading and making photocopies of an article that was carried by a South African newspaper on a raging sex scandal rocking the royal family?
Authorities in the tiny kingdom are desperate to put a lid on the scandal in which a cabinet minister was caught red-handed making love to Inkhosikati LaDube, one of the 13 wives of King Mswati III.
The minister, Ndumiso Mamba, a close ally of King Mswati, has since been forced to resign as Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
Sibusiso Mhlanga, a member of the banned Swaziland Youth Congress (Swayoco), was arrested in Manzini as he tried to make copies of the article which appeared at weekend in the City Press newspaper. This shows how backward the royal family is. Caught in a time-warp, King Mswati’s minions think that they can destroy evidence of royal indiscretions by intimidating civil society. They have not heard of facebook and twitter where the saga was kicking big time. Mswati is a victim of his own doing. This is what happens when you display to the world hidden secrets of your conquests. There are others waiting for a closer look.

Muckracker liked the piece by NewsDay deputy editor Brian Mangwende questioning the credentials of some of the rogue war veterans moving around threatening villagers in the countryside.
It would be interesting if Jabulani Sibanda or Joseph Chinotimba would tell their liberation war credentials, not the 2000 and 2008 land and presidential election run-off jambanjas.
Did anyone read the article which appeared in The Sunday Mail claiming Rwandan secret agents had “sneaked” into Zimbabwe hunting down fugitives of the 1994 genocide believed to be hiding in Zimbabwe?
The paper claimed reports from the Rwandan capital, Kigali,  confirmed that security agents from the tiny central African nation sneaked into the country early this year to hunt down two suspects — Charles Bandora and Protais Mpiranya — apparently without the knowledge of Zimbabwean authorities.
The paper did not tell us it plagiarised the story from some websites. Talk of professionalism. We hope next time they lift stories from other publications the Sunday Mail will give attributions.

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