Sunday, August 12, 2007

(HERALD) Malawi scribes on fact-finding mission

Malawi scribes on fact-finding mission
Herald Reporter

THE Minister of Information and Publicity Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu yesterday met eight Malawian journalists on a fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe and briefed them on the situation in the country. The journalists, who are drawn from Malawi Television, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, the Guardian Newspaper and Malawi News Agency, arrived in Zimbabwe on Wednesday. On their arrival, the journalists were taken to Victoria Falls for a tour.

They are expected to meet Government officials and tour projects including farming areas to see the success of the land reform programme. Dr Ndlovu told the visiting journalists that their visit to Zimbabwe was crucial and important not only to Zimbabwe but also to the region and Malawi.

"If you have correct information you are able to interpret events taking place here in a proper context," Dr Ndlovu told them.

He said Zimbabwe was a revolutionary country born out of an armed struggle.

Dr Ndlovu said after Zimbabwe discarded the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme which the British and Americans wanted to use to force the Government to "sell" State enterprises and some parastatals to them under the banner of privatisation, its relationship with the west became sour.

The situation, he said, was worsened after the British government reneged on its colonial obligation to fund land reform forcing Government to acquire the land compulsorily and resettle the landless majority.

"At every turn they put spanners to make sure that our economy will not work. We were the first country in Africa to discard Esap, which made our people suffer and strangulated our economy. We came up with our own economic turnaround programmes," he said.

The Minister said Government’s decision to acquire land from white farmers, mostly of British extraction without compensation for the land was the reason the country was being punished.

Britain is supposed to pay compensation for the land while Government is already compensating farmers for the developments they made on the farms. Dr Ndlovu said despite the dirty tactics employed by Britain and her allies in and outside Zimbabwe, Harare remained steadfast in defending her sovereignty.

"We have not given up. We are still unflinchingly revolutionary and defending our country against imperialism."

The Minister rubbished reports that there was no rule of law in Zimbabwe. Dr Ndlovu said the Malawian journalists were coming to Zimbabwe at a time the country was receiving negative publicity in the media orchestrated by its detractors in the West led by Britain, the European Union and the United States.

He said when the land was repossessed the whites were not chased but refused to accept the Government policy of one man one farm as they wanted to cling to many farms.

Dr Ndlovu also explained to the scribes the British and American governments’ machinations to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.

"You are coming at time when the country has been buffeted from all angles. Illegal sanctions have been imposed against the country and the British and America governments have engaged in covert operations to try to destabilise the country."

A recent report by the Americans, the Minister said, exposed the dirty tricks they were using against Zimbabwe such as sponsorship of opposition Press including township newspapers and newsletters and funding anti-Government activists.

He said they were also training local journalists and facilitating workshops under the guise of championing Press freedom.

They were also funding hostile broadcasting stations such among other strategies.

Dr Ndlovu said the journalists’ mission to Zimbabwe came in the context of excellent bilateral relations that existed between the two countries.

"Information plays a critical role in consolidating those relationships and we hope your visit here will enable you to experience for yourself the correct situation about Zimbabwe against western propaganda that is being churned out daily to tarnish the country’s image to isolate it."

Dr Ndlovu said the Government had remained resolute on the sacred principles of democracy and human rights.

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