Stop impunity and criminalizing journalists now

 

By Watmore Makokoba

Journalists are not criminals, governments have been warned to stop forthwith muzzling the media and called upon to expedite investigations to ensure perpetrators are brought to book.

As the world commemorates International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, civil society and the media fraternity have expressed concern on the rising impunity and injustices oftentimes perpetrated by government authorities on journalists while on duty.

Today, the media fraternity is perplexed with yet another significant blow as Zimbabwean authorities today,  Friday 03 November 2017 arrests an American citizen and confiscated her laptop claiming that she undermined the authority of or insulted President Robert Mugabe by retweeting a tweet.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers arrested Martha O’Donovan, who works for Magamba TV, during dawn at her Harare residence and confiscated her electronic devices including her laptop and detained her at Harare Central Police Station’s CID Law and Order Section.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries who has been in the limelight for seemingly wrong reasons, cases of unlawful arrests and an unprecedented onslaught on the media, infringing the citizens from their fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Recently, Newsday senior reporter Richard Chidza was allegedly shoved and slapped by ruling Zanu-PF youths at a press conference on 19 October 2017, demanding that he reveals the source of a story regarding an alleged fall-out within the youth league’s leadership ranks.

On 29 September 2017 journalists Mugove Tafirenyika and Brighton Goko who work for the privately owned Daily News sustained serious injuries after being assaulted by the police while covering a demonstration in Harare’s central business district.

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe has dissuaded the Zimbabwean government to accord the profession of Journalism its rightful space to operate in and called for investigations cases involving the assault of journalists conducting their lawful professional duties.

“The investigations will assist in bringing the culprits to book and send a clear message to other would-be perpetrators that the government does not tolerate these wanton acts of impunity against journalists”, reads MISA statement.

In a joint statement, the European Union and the Africa Union has called on state authorities to fulfil their responsibility to protect journalists, establish a meaningful deterrence against the violent targeting of media professionals, and fully abide by their international and continental obligations.

“Nevertheless, journalist continue to be killed and face an increasing level of intimidation and violence. The disregard for the fundamental rights of journalists as they exercise their profession has led to a climate of impunity affecting not only victims but also freedom of expression and rule of law” reads the EU and AU statement.

In the same regard, the UN urges member states to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers and bring perpetrators to justice as well as promoting a safe and enabling environment for journalists to work independently and without undue interference.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.

 

MDC ALLIANCE threatens to protests over Zec proof of residents requirement

 

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

There is a looming showdown between MDC Alliance and the country’s electoral body as the opposition parties coalition seeks accountability and transparency from the on-going BVR exercise.

This was revealed by MDC-T secretary general and MDC Alliance Legal and Electoral Reforms committee chairperson Douglas Mwonzora after a meeting in the capital on Thursday.

Mwonzora said the committee resolved to scrap the proof of residence requirement for registrants.

“We resolved that there is the need to remove the proof of residence requirement as it has been cited by the electoral body as one of the major deterrent to would-be registrants,” said Mwonzora.

He said the MDC Alliance is agreeable to the fact that they should have access to the server of the BVR exercise.

“All parties under the MDC Alliance agreed that there is the need for access to the server as it is a  constitutional right to access to information for advancement and protection of that right,” argued the lawyer-cum-politician.

Most aliens have been turned away at BVR centres if they have not renounced their citizenship, but the MDC Alliance  is  proposing that they should  not be forced to surrender their citizenship but just need to furnish the ZEC officials with a birth certificate confirming that they were indeed born in Zimbabwe on top of the required documentation(metal, plastic, paper ID or a valid passport).

Mwonzora added that there was a need for an independent auditor to audit the voters’ roll.

“ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau has been on the record saying that the electoral body will not allow an independent auditor with regards to the voter’s roll but we will be pushing for an independent auditor for accountability and transparency, ”he added.

The pact is also taking Zanu-PF to task regarding the alleged recording of serial numbers of certificates of registration arguing that it is a violation of privacy and unconstitutional. Zanu-PF representatives met with ZEC and resolved to look into the matter but the MDC Alliance says if the ‘misdemeanor’ goes unabated they will take the legal route.

The coalition said there will be writing all their demands to the electoral body and will take even extra-judicial activities like peaceful demonstrations against ZEC and diplomatic solutions.

Meanwhile, the Alliance has also taken a swipe at the Chiefs Council President Fortune Charumbira for violating the constitution by endorsing Mugabe. The alliance said Charumbira should retract his statement or else he should be prepared to face the legal battle.

Independent candidate Linda Sibanyoni launches Tirikuchimhanya green campaign.

 

By Tariro Senderayi

As Zimbabwe gears up for the upcoming elections next year, a new trend of independent youth candidates particularly young women throwing their hats in the ring is becoming of particular interest

Evidently with the colourfull trio made up of  Fadzayi Mahere’s yellow campaign, Linda Masarira’s purple campaign, Vimbai Musvaburi’s blue campaign who have already started their campaigns, the coming on board of yet another young woman  Linda Sibanyoni’s green campaign marks a new political dispensation where independent candidates are becoming popular.

She has declared her candidacy for the Member of Parliament for Harare East constituency seat.

This election seems to be pregnant with fireworks as she shall be contending toe to toe with little known Zanu-PF Terrence Mukupe.

So who is Linda Sibanyoni and why has she decided to step up and be counted? Linda has owned up to the fact that her calling to lead was too strong for her to ignore and in July 2016 she decided to heed the call.

Upon the realisation that sitting on the terraces will not help to retrieve the Zimbabwe national pride, Linda felt it was time to run for public office and effectively represent citizens in the National Assembly.

Her campaign runs on untamed passion as she acknowledges that she is no master on the Zimbabwean situation but is largely driven by the love for her country,  to serve and work for it.

She has also acknowledged that she is not perfect and will make mistakes along the way as it is inevitable human nature, however, she implores fellow youth to treat her like a sister and exercise patience in her journey of growth as a politician because this political journey is not hers alone.

The core values of her green campaign are TO SERVE, DEVELOP and TOLERATE. Linda said she has committed herself to improve the lives of the people in the constituency of Harare East.

Linda calls herself ‘Cde No Chill’, Hezvo factor, MpBae, MpWeVanhu, MpWaBantu in other spaces.

So here’s to 2018 the year of colour coded election campaigns and we welcome the Tirikuchimhanya green campaign in the Harare East Constituency. We shall be watching keenly her campaign.

 

 

Mujuru’s Dour Coloured Rainbow, Sign of a Coming Storm

 

The semantics of Mujuru in her speech celebrating the creation of the People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC) showed a veiled need to sound benign whilst underneath bristled a desire to prance around for coming up with such a sucker punch for her rivals.

The rivals this time are fellow opposition parties whom she has been intended to show she can stand her own ground. The need to show the audience she is a politician enough on her own has overtaken her since there is absolutely nothing of value on a macro-political level, or able to beat Mugabe in the Rainbow Coalition.

Its a mere convergence of colours and nothing else of substance. The PRC is actually the perfect fabled rainbow, a mere assemblage of colours upon which meaning is foisted, pruned and shared around for a community-feeling of goodwill. The storm is over, pull open the drapes and let the sun in.

Mujuru spoke about politicians who have discarded their “individual identities and peculiarities”,  and agreed to be faceless names in a vague association. The description is actually an irony since most of these guys have already been faceless entities whose existence on the political chessboard equates to their being the very pawns Mujuru has made them.

For all their strong feelings against the regime of President Mugabe, Zunde or Dare are not anything related to vital political allies or opponents. They are among the very same company of comedians who have inflated the number of contesting candidates from 35 early in the year to 75 around September according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

As for PDP, the party is morphing into the studious scholarly craze adept at explaining complex problems but very much befuddled by simple things. Its very split and succeeding conjoining with Mujuru is the very antithesis of everything related to progress and highlights a nitpicking penchant for the irrelevant at the expense of bigger issues.

That Lucia Matibenga and Gorden Moyo have drifted from any reasonable political anchor to find themselves floating in such nebulous creations whose underlining agenda is a mere flexing of egos goes to show the vanity of many predators in opposition politics.

Together with every other nebulous ” visionary” presidential aspirant, some are even in Australia and the UK, Mujuru and her allies are the very phonies deriving personal actualisation by exercising their dreams using the reality of our crippled country.

They are implementing the sermons of the much-hyped about 21st century-craze Life Coaches and Motivational Speakers of being anything you want and gleefully jumping into campaigning. To win or not to win is beside the point of their agenda. All they seek is a statement on their CV’s that once upon a time they competed against Mugabe.

That’s on top of taking as much financial gain from donors hidden in shadows.

Their rallies are mostly on social media where they rant and rave with a barely-covering negligee sheen of anger revealing undertones of a comfortable existence far removed from the tentacles of Mugabe.

After all, how does one explain such political deformities like Munyaradzi Jacob Masiya, Langton Chirinda, Jacob Ngarivhume, Dr Noah Manyika, Sikhosana Moyo and every other pop-out of the blue politician suddenly descending upon the ballot paper and declaring himself the solution on the very eve of elections?

In the political circles, the list actually reads like a Who is Who of non-entities, no-hopers and wet-dreamers out for a real walk.

Mujuru has dragged these types into her bosom and is trying to make the country believe she has an alternative to the MDC Alliance.

The MDC Alliance is not the solution by itself and needs her too just as she needs it if removing Zanu-PF is, in fact, her agenda. Vaunting an empty handshake with political midgets and hobbits whose prime motivation dithers between making the numbers and an addendum in history, into a sanctimonious act is not the smartest way forward.

Mujuru is slowly carving herself into a female version of the old man she left in Zanu-PF, not so much through deeds and populism but steadfastness in refusing the ameliorating grace of sense, logic and convention.

Sometimes the way forward is not a strategic panoply of devices and schemes but a mundane mathematical addition of one and one becoming two and reigning superior to each other’s singleness. The added ones, however, need to be living entities, not political ice-blocks, frozen in anger and ridicule for Mugabe and containing nothing else.

That Mujuru is busy massaging her glowing ego from the rickety dais hoisted by midget political players is an indictment of sincerity being absent and personal ambition reigning.

Her rainbow isn’t the biblical abatement to the deluge but a gloomy warning of worse to come.

 

 

Kudos To WHO, Mugabe Doesn’t know anything about Zim health system

 

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

Revoking of President Robert Mugabe’s appointment as World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Goodwill Ambassador on NCDs(Non-Communicable Diseases)has been welcomed by many #Twimbos.

The announcement was made on Sunday after the state media as usual had already gone gaga over his appointment.

The humiliation is a double tragedy to the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Engineer Walter Mzembi after a failed dream to lead the UNWTO, rumours have it that the defeat could have been as a result of his allegiance to the 93-year –old leader.

Now at a time when the foreign minister thought he had made a milestone in his new portfolio, he suffered yet another setback, this can be construed from his tone where he called for a complete overhaul of the UN agencies.

Linda Masarira, political activist who is also vying for the Harare Central legislator’s post in next year’s polls, had earlier posted on Twitter denouncing the appointment before the rescinding

 

A snap survey by this publication indicates that most citizens welcomed the decision by WHO looking at the sentiments that were posted on social media platforms.

One #Twimbo by the name M Matigari praised the decision applauding all people who stood against the appointment. Below is the excerpt of his post.

 

 

Commenting on his twitter handle, former ZBC staffer and NewZimbabwe.com  editor Gilbert Nyambabvu sarcastically said that by revoking the decision, parastatals have been spared from coughing out money through advertorials but might be forced to condemn it.

 

WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who made the appointment at a high-level meeting on  NCDs in Uruguay on Wednesday, said in a statement on Sunday that he had listened to the concerns of many expressed on social media.

 

Commenting following his boss’s fate, Mzembi said he respected the decision which had been taken by WHO to reshuffle Mugabe.

President Mugabe spokesperson George Charamba chose to backtrack ignoring facts saying Mugabe had never been appointed as WHO ambassador and could have rejected the offer.

“For his entire stay in Uruguay, there was nothing that was intimated to him suggesting that designation, and, in any case, there is always a formal way of communicating with Heads of States and to date there is no such communication. What it means, therefore, is that the WHO cannot take back what it never gave in the first place, and as far as he is concerned, all this hullabaloo over a non-appointment is in fact a non-event, but a non-event which reflects a negative predisposition towards Zimbabwe”, Charamba was quoted by the state-owned Herald.

Among some of the concerns was that Mugabe is now frail and is always flying to seek medical attention in the Middle East because back home the health delivery system was in the doldrums.

 

Pic credit: Newsday