by Jonathan Maphenduka
SINCE President Emmerson Mnangangwa’s takeover it has become increasingly possible for the private media to publish views and comments, which are in the main contrary to government’s view and expectations. Zimbabweans of all political persuasions will agree that this has helped immensely to persuade the international community to accept his government as a better evil than that of his predecessor.
But the tolerance his government has shown towards the print media is still far from ideal and his government would be well advised to continue relaxing its hold on public media for its political survival against the national interest. This is particularly true in the matter of the television industry, which continues to be an impregnable state monopoly 40 years on. Recently government announced that a number of applications were under consideration. There is a pressing expectation, therefore, that its decision will not be unduly delayed. Even then there are fears that government might succumb to awarding licences to those who share the same beliefs and are benefiting from their association with the government agenda, even if such may not be in the public information sphere.
The Republic of South Africa is for Zimbabwe an interesting subject for study in its public/private media co-existence without the tensions of a publicly contested sphere of public information. Perhaps it is time for Zimbabwe to adopt and apply their system.
I wish to announce my retirement from writing with immediate effect to save my failing eyesight. To me the introduction of the lockdown to combat Covid-19 pandemic was a mixed blessing. Instead of triggering my insanity, the restrictions inflicted irreparable damage to my eyesight because I devoted most of my time to writing. Three months ago I had an eye surgery, which was extremely successful, but I failed to give the eye a rest and this caused irreparable damage to the eye. Although I had expected to retire on my 89th birthday on January 5, it has become imperative that I retire now.
While my eyesight permitted, I had created an amazing avid and loyal readership across both public and private media publishers. It is a great pity that this relationship must be ended. I wish to thank all those who kept the flame of our relationship burning, always ready to encourage me to continue expressing views, which were not commonplace in such a polarised political atmosphere as prevails in Zimbabwe. I, therefore, can’t thank all sufficiently to repay their faith and support for views which in the main were not only radical, but were also (I hope) revealing in their own way.
I wish to thank most sincerely all my publishers, particularly The Standard which generously provided a weekly slot, The Chronicle and Sunday News which never let me down even under extremely restrictive and difficult working conditions.
l Jonathan Maphenduka contact +263 772 332 404