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Illegal regime change takes Internet by storm
Posted: Tuesday, July 1, 2008

By Dambudzo Mapuranga
July 01, 2008
The Herald

THE British Government appoints the BBC's entire top management. In fact, one can safely say BBC is a mouthpiece of the British Government. This being said, how then can BBC be expected to report objectively concerning the Government of Zimbabwe seeing that Zanu-PF has been labelled enemy number one by the residents of Number 10 Downing Street.

"We cannot independently verify the contents of this story as BBC is banned from reporting in Zimbabwe".

This is the disclaimer that you will find under many of the stories on Zimbabwe on the BBC's website, TV and radio broadcasts.

The disclaimer is posted solely for the purpose of protecting BBC from being sued by the Government of Zimbabwe over its blatant false news stories.

Several questions arise when one closely examines the disclaimer and chief among them is, if the BBC has failed to verify a story why then would they report it and also post it on its website as a news article?

The only answer that there is to the actions of the BBC is that as long as any story paints a heinous picture of Zanu-PF, President Mugabe and Zimbabwe it will find itself attaining high priority on the BBC website, TV and radio. I am confident that if I were to open a fictitious story chronicling how Zanu-PF supporters have done all sorts of evil deeds on my being and on my property and even include several pictures of road accident victims it will make it on to BBC.

The game of creating news stories is not anything new; in fact the Americans perfected it a long time ago.

A classic example is seen from the American movie "Wag the Dog" starring Robert de Niro and Dustin Hoffman. The concept of the movie being that after news broke out that on the run up to the first Gulf War the Kuwaiti Lobby in Washington, DC commissioned the production of false news stories that showed Iraqi army tanks and soldiers advancing towards a supposed Iraqi/Kuwaiti border. It turns out that the entire footage was shot in the Nevada Desert with the help of the Bush administration.

The deception did not end there. These unscrupulous people went on to produce false testimony before the US Congress (the equivalent of our parliament). The daughter of the then Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States was coached into testifying and lie before the US Congress on how her entire village was razed and how she escaped being killed by pretending to be dead and covering herself with the intestines of her dead mother.

The partiality of western media houses is well known, as most of them are nothing more than public relations offices of their countries' foreign affairs ministries.

The negative reporting of the BBC and CNN on Zimbabwe is a mockery of the same institutions their governments claim to be propagating across the globe.

Rumours make juicy stories and are very difficult to take back. The type of irresponsible journalism being witnessed on the Internet has turned BBC and CNN into some of the biggest rumour mills.

Only myopic people and racists would find such rag tag stories to be of value.

Here are two stories that highlight gross irresponsibility on the part of the BBC and CNN. Some of them leave the reader wondering whether the editors of these media houses even bother showing up for work.

Zimbabwe campaign: Secret document

The article claims that undercover BBC news correspondent Ian Pannell obtained evidence of plans by Zimbabwe's ruling party to harass and drive out opposition supporters.

I for one would like to have whatever medication Zanu-PF legal affairs secretary Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa is drinking, because according to the secret document, Cde Mnangagwa is doing the work of ten very strong men.

One day he is reported to be in South Africa consulting with the ANC, the next day he is hailed as the man running the so called military junta that is now "ruling" Zimbabwe, and now he is heading the Zanu-PF presidential election campaign.

That being said an analysis of the secret document shows that it is a total take. Zanu-PF takes great pride in its work and anyone who is familiar with Zanu-PF's operations would know that any correspondence or party documents would have the Zanu-PF letterhead. The so called Zanu-PF secret document contains no logo or letterhead to show its origin.

Given that the cunning legal brains of Cde Mnangagwa are said to be heading the Action Plan documented in this disgraceful and shoddily down piece of work one wonders whether there is another Mnangagwa with half a brain who would come up with such a poor strategy.

One can only conclude that this secret document came from some opposition dim-wit with nothing better to do. The poor English used in the document leaves the mouth with a sour taste. The poor fellow then adds the names of several prominent Zanu-PF figures and accredits them to be from the Zanu-PF Midlands Province.

With the exception of Cde Mnangagwa, the rest of the party functionaries are not from the Zanu-PF Midlands Province. Senator Edna Madzongwe is from Mashonaland West Province.

Both Senator Joshua Malinga and Cde Jabulani Sibanda are from the Bulawayo Province, while Cde Joseph Chinotimba is from Manicaland Province.

The BBC failed to realise this and further more it is common knowledge that Politburo members such as Cdes Madzongwe and Mnangagwa head teams in their respective provinces and are not thrown all over the country in a haphazard manner.

Death of a Zimbabwe Activist

In an ironic twist of events Tonderai Ndira became a hero in death and yet he lived the life of a thug.

Despite all her hatred for Zanu-PF, Trudy Stevenson can attest that she did not moan the death of a former MDC-T activist who was responsible for her assault in Mabvuku in 2005, an assault that resulted in head injuries and a fractured arm.

The two police officers based at ZRP Marimba who were unfortunate to be at the station when it was petrol-bombed by Ndira and his accomplices surely did not shed a tear for the man responsible for their skin burns.

None of these heinous acts were featured in the glowing obituary that BBC News posted on Tonderai Ndira. Instead the news article glorified a violent man who died a violent death. The elderly are correct when they say those who live by the gun die by the gun.

"I knew him personally, he was a youth activist who went around the country holding workshops and teaching people their rights."

That is what one unnamed ZimRights official is quoted to have said. Too bad we cannot contact the so-called official and ask him for the names of the three towns where Ndira held human rights workshops.

Ndira's farewell should have been a true reflection of what he was. It should have said "the death of an MDC-T foot soldier".

The story then tells of how ten men came in a pick up truck to Ndira's house in Mabvuku armed with AK-47 rifles around seven in the morning and boldly asked Ndira's wife to inform him that they had come to collect him. The men then abducted Ndira in his underwear in front of his children.

Of all the incredible things you have ever heard this is right up there with "the dog ate my homework" story.

Anyone who has been to Mabvuku or any other high-density suburb knows that there is no way anyone can be abducted at seven in the morning.

Are we meant to believe that somehow there were no people going about their business to witness ten armed men in an open pick-up truck kidnapping Tonderai Ndira?

With the way the MDC-T loves to cry for attention should this not have been on BBC and CNN within thirty minutes of Ndira's abduction?

Observe how the BBC and CNN seem to be able to report of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai's arrests within minutes of them happening.

How then did Ndira's abduction go unreported for days only to have the news of his death reported to coincide with Tsvangirai's return from self-imposed exile?

As if that was not enough, Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's self-proclaimed saviour "cried" at Ndira's funeral, to invoke emotions of the Holy Book's shortest, "Jesus wept" before raising Lazarus from the dead.

BBC now offers to answer readers' questions about Zimbabwe through their undercover correspondent Ian Pannell. One can only guess what lies this hack of a journalist will be peddling to those who intend to ask him about the political situation in Zimbabwe.

I sent Ian Pannell several questions which I believe to be very pertinent to the Zimbabwean situation, but he is yet to respond to. My questions were:

1) Why has the BBC and CNN not reported on MDC-T perpetrated violence against Zanu-PF supporters?

2) Why has the BBC failed to reveal where it got the copy of the alleged Secret Zanu-PF campaign document?

3) Why has the BBC never written about the effects of the illegal sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans?

4) Why is there no reference to the US' Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 on its website?

5) Why does the BBC only quote right wing Rhodesians and MDC-T as the people representing "Zimbabweans"?

In conclusion, the long and short answer is that the Zimbabwe situation has largely been played up by the Western media and it is clear that it is an extension of their foreign relations policy on Africa.

This stark reality puts our private media poles apart with the Western media that they mimic, since our private media believes that "following the flag" is retrogressive.

The Internet, where lies, half truths and misinformation are peddled as news has internationalised the issue with pseudo experts and arm chair critics who have an axe to grind against Zanu-PF, President Mugabe and his Government always being available with "opinions and analyses" of every news item reported by the BBC and CNN and a whole host of other foreign networks.

However, the shameful thing is that the lies always come through, and the embedded journalism shows itself.

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