Articles

Zanu-Pf in no hurry for media reform

After thirty two years of making many mistakes one after another Zanu-Pf has not understood the rules of the game in democracy. Evidenced by the jigsaws puzzle in approach to elections currently going on in Zimbabwe, only two words could subscribe as very true of Zanu leadership: reclusive and deceiving.

The three-week deadline reportedly given to Information Minister Webster Shamu by the unity government principals to implement media reforms expired on Monday the 12th of March with no sign of urgency from the ZANU-PF minister. This complacency comes at a time when media reforms have taken a centre stage in Zimbabwe's democratization process, in the wake of a controversial declaration by President Mugabe's spokesperson, George Charamba that 'the next election will be fought in the airwaves'.

Shamu was given the three week ultimatum by the principals in the unity government, Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Deputy Arthur Mutambara  who had 'agreed' that the boards must be reconstituted. However, there are doubts this agreement will translate into action. A similar agreement was recently met over the post of national police chief, with the principals 'agreeing' that Augustine Chihuri remains in the post temporarily, until a replacement was found. But in the following days, ZANU PF announced that Chihuri had been reappointed until 2014.

The importance of credible and transparent opening of the airwaves before elections which are being aggressively called for by Robert Mugabe cannot be overemphasized. Zuma has for a long time insisted on the need for the current government to reform the media which is a key democratic institution before holding elections also among other key areas such as human rights and the electoral system to ensure that the space within which the elections are going to be held is democratic.  Zanu-Pf largely heads key media policy nerve centres in government, Zanu-Pf has virtual control over the Potraz, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the Interception of Communication Act (ICA).   Although the inclusive government, which established the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), managed to license a few private print media players to run independent newspapers, there has been no positive development regarding the broadcasting environment.

After all has been said and done Zimbabwe needs a constitution that will guarantee media and freedom rights for the media is a democratic institution that plays an important democratic role in any society. Hence, to have Zanu-Pf complain on Jacob Zuma as a hindrance in 2012 on the Zimbabwe solution can only highlight an aspect that justifies displacement of Zanu-Pf for the sake of country progress. Every Zimbabwean today talks of the need for change and we urge Jacob Zuma, to seek nothing but justice for majority Zimbabweans for the sake of democracy, freedom, regional peace and continental stability. Again we reiterate, Elections in Zimbabwe have to be done after all areas agreed to in creating the GNU as transition to a constitutionally ready Zimbabwe are exhaustively attended to and achieved on paper to control and deter dictatorship. Zimbabwe is indeed overdue for responsible government accountable to people debate and suggestions and collaborative with other world governments.

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