IN THE PRESS

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - COMMENT -

IT IS funny — though hor­ri­bly shame­ful — how the pri­vate me­dia in Zim­babwe al­low them­selves to be the will­ing and blunt tools of a los­ing op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal party.

When­ever they re­port on Nel­son Chamisa’s wet dream of a coali­tion govern­ment or “tran­si­tional author­ity”, you find at the ba­sis a crip­pling in­nu­mer­acy that ex­presses it­self in the self-in­dul­gent claim that Nel­son came close to win­ning the 2018 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The re­al­ity is that he was a dis­tant sec­ond. He was more than 300 000 votes be­hind Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa. He was more than five per­cent away from the thresh­old re­quired for the Zim­babwe Elec­toral Com­mis­sion to de­clare him Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic.

There was noth­ing “close” about his per­for­mance. Fur­ther, his rag­tag coali­tion of par­lia­men­tary can­di­dates was soundly whipped at the polls, get­ting just 63 Na­tional As­sem­bly seats to ZANU-PF’s 145.

Surely those fig­ures only point to the need for a coali­tion govern­ment if you are a stub­born in­nu­mer­ate! But they do not stop there. They go fur­ther and par­rot the joke of a “tran­si­tional author­ity”. Tran­sit­ing to what? To an un­pop­u­lar govern­ment that can­not win an elec­tion?

Sadly, we should not be sur­prised. Th­ese are the same peo­ple who cheer on prof­i­teers in the re­tail sec­tor and pray for the col­lapse of the na­tional econ­omy as if they live in an­other coun­try.

They act as if their news­pa­per sales have not de­clined to the point of fac­ing clo­sure, leav­ing them with­out a plat­form from which to dis­play their in­nu­mer­acy and no ca­pac­ity to feed their fam­i­lies.

When it comes to the coun­try’s growth and de­vel­op­ment, the me­dia have a duty to be part of the build­ing process — not cheer lead­ers of self-cen­tred prophets of doom.

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