Thursday, November 29, 2012

(HERALD ZW) Sponsored war against Zanu-PF bound to fail

Sponsored war against Zanu-PF bound to fail
Thursday, 22 November 2012 21:12
Bowden Mbanje and Darlington Mahuku

Last week various provinces in Zimbabwe reaffirmed their endorsement of President Mugabe as the Zanu-PF presidential candidate for the harmonised elections scheduled for 2013. What is fascinating is the way the private media in their world of fantasy has gone into overdrive trying to suggest a presidential candidate for the revolutionary party. This clearly exposes signs of panic within the donor community. The endorsement of President Mugabe has clearly upset their hideous plans since they actually know that the man commands a lot of support countrywide.

What is written in the private media shows a veiled acknowledgement that it is not possible to unseat President Mugabe in 2013. Zanu-PF, as a tried and tested revolutionary party would never be foolish enough to be swayed by opinions coming from a group of Western acolytes who have an agenda.

The frustration and displeasure of seeing President Mugabe standing once more in what most progressive Africans see as the final battle against Western sponsored puppets has seen the private media launching an offensive against the person of the president.

This should not come as a surprise since there are quite a number of former Rhodesians who have business interests in Zimbabwe and they are clandestinely conniving with some Zimbabweans to establish business ventures if ever the revolutionary Zanu-PF party loses next year’s elections.
The private media and its foreign funders are very much obsessed by almost anything that takes place within the Zanu-PF leadership structures. This has always resulted in disappointment or disillusionment when the revolutionary party acts contrary to their narrow minded and myopic agenda setting expectations.

An election without President Mugabe would have given them false hope of an MDC victory. The foreign private media owners after realising that their aspirations have since been overwhelmingly quashed have thus decided to unleash a media blitz against everything that Zanu-PF stands for.
Arguably such propaganda will not be effective since the electorate is now very much aware of the shortcomings of Western sponsored political parties. It is also very irresponsible on the part of the media to attempt to indirectly participate in choosing a candidate for any political party.

Such short-sightedness is alarming and depicts ignorance of the functions of a political party. Political parties are organisations that sponsor candidates for political office in the party’s name. This automatically means that it is the privilege of political parties to choose candidates they deem or regard competent enough to represent them in any election be it local council, parliamentary or presidential.

We strongly believe that it will be suicidal for any political party to have candidates for political office dictated to them by external actors. It therefore becomes very interesting when Zimbabwe’s private media tries to suggest a “suitable candidate” for Zanu-PF to contest in the next presidential elections.

Had this same madness been extended to other political parties then maybe we would have said they are really concerned about who should govern. Nomination of candidates for public office is the sole prerogative of all political parties.

The MDC has shown some weaknesses in this regard as any external Tom, Dick and Harry is given the right to nominate a candidate of his choice to compete for public office merely because he would have provided financial assistance to the party.

It is a mandate of the political parties to help their candidates’ campaign for public office. They see to it that their nominated candidate canvasses or drums up support among the electorate.

This can be done through the holding of rallies, adverts in the print and electronic media, door to door campaigns and composing songs praising the candidates and so on. The media plays a crucial role in dissemination of information to the electorate as to enable them to make informed choices concerning the candidates competing for public office.

The agenda of the media should therefore be to promote balanced and fair news coverage that condemns bad things and acknowledges the good regardless of where they might be found.
In Zimbabwe, the media is bent more on vilifying those they dislike and praising the ones they like. The media is heavily polarised to the extent that it will be foolish and naive for anyone to suggest that the private media is fair and well balanced in its reportage of political events. It is also irrational and stupid to expect the public media to sympathise with the former colonisers.

This is the norm everywhere and Zimbabwe is no exception. This has therefore seen the private media openly and unashamedly campaigning for MDC candidates. That is what politics is all about and that is what the media also stands for since those who own and control the media cannot be passive observers in politics.

As an interest group the private media also seeks to affect the operations of government and individual politicians to act in accordance with their own interests. The private media is also made up of a group or body of individuals who share some political, economic and social goals and they also try by any means possible to influence those who hold public office.

In the UK, Rupert Murdoch and his media empire had such influence on many British politicians and parliamentarians. Many people tend to ignore the power that media houses wield especially when it comes to setting of political agendas.

Political parties also narrow policy options, so that the desires and demands of citizens are converted into a few policy alternatives.

The political party in power finds out what people want and looks for a way to combine and address those demands. This power to decide who gets what, when and how or to be in control of the authoritative allocation of values to society is one of the major reasons why the private media would want an MDC victory in 2013.

The whole issue is centred on power. What they want is a candidate who will serve the various interests of those who are funding the private media.

Claude Mararike contends that owners of the media are in most cases interested in a political agenda. Their reasons for setting up newspapers are to promote their political agendas and those of their friends or particular groups of people. The private media in Zimbabwe actually supports some candidates for political office especially those they feel will represent their interests when they get into public office.

It is no hidden secret that the private media does not conceal its admiration for PM Morgan Tsvangirai and that in itself glaringly shows the candidate they prefer to win in 2013. Anything to do with Zanu-PF has been portrayed in a very negative way and this because the people demanded “their own pound of flesh” that is control and ownership of their own resources.

This is the crime that Zanu-PF party committed against the private media’s handlers and editorial team.

The private media seeks to influence election process so that in the long run they will exert influence on the politicians they support so that their own interests will also be considered. It should never be taken for granted that those who own and control the media are also involved in national power struggles, politics and conflict.

Mararike is therefore of the opinion that it is nonsense to claim that the media is independent, free and above politics, economics, race, colour or creed. The private media through its foreign funders becomes vulnerable to Western manipulation as it ends up supporting the political ambitions of the MDC formations as well as British and American interests.

It is therefore very obvious that the majority of those who work for the private media are not necessarily professional journalists, but opportunists driven by a desire to make money. This money loving group does not mind doing the bidding on behalf of their Western handlers.

The private media in Zimbabwe has become an extension or appendage of the Western media as it openly supports the views of the former colonisers. Such media can never be said to be independent or fair.

In the 2008 presidential elections Tsvangirai had all the political, social and economic advantages tilted in his favour, but this time around it’s now a very different case. Many civil servants are bitter at the way they were hoodwinked into believing that Tsvangirai and his MDC cronies would unlock the keys to revive the economy.

It is now almost three years since the formation of the inclusive Government and yet not much has changed as regards the plight of civil servants. Zanu- PF should do something in 2013 for the struggling civil servants especially the teachers and nurses.

If Tsvangirai was to go to the moon today, he would of course get all the international media publicity Armstrong and his team of astronauts got from all corners of the world, but that would never give him a political edge over President Mugabe’s people centred policies.

Zimbabweans have travelled the bitter road of treachery, making them a bit wiser along the way. Americans were able to predict an Obama victory over Romney and Zimbabweans are also quite aware of who will be the victor in the 2013 elections.

It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to predict such an outcome. No wonder the private media is now panicking at the endorsement of President Mugabe to contest in the 2013 presidential elections. The electorate will always reward those who are committed to their cause.

Bowden Mbanje and Darlington Mahuku are lecturers in international relations, and peace and governance with Bindura University of Science Education.

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