Shamu – A Fox Guarding the Henhouse
By Phil Matibe
If an investor had a vibrant and profitable company, which of the ministers in the GNU would they entrust with their business and employ as the CEO?
Recently Webster Shamu, Minister of Publicity and Information, named former senior military officers to the state media statutory boards, sending an unambiguous signal to the global community that the military, and Robert Mugabe, remain in charge.
The Army officers listed below, who are now board members of media bodies in Zimbabwe, constitute a well orchestrated advance party for a pre-emptive strike against democracy. Their function is to soften the target –elections – encircle and lay siege to all media outlets, thus denying any opposition broadcasting space. They shall escalate the “pirate stations” mantra into open warfare until a few days before the next elections.
Major-General Gibson Mashingaidze, Brigadier-General Benjamin Mabenge, Brigadier-General Epmarcus Kanhanga, Brigadier-General Elasto Madzingira, Brigadier General Felix Muchemwa, Brigadier-General Livingstone Chineka, Brigadier-General Collin Moyo and Colonel Claudius Makova – this ethnically skewed assemblage of military officers reads like a command structure for a genocidal offensive.
The line between retirement and active service for Zimbabwe’s senior military officers is blurred by political gibberish and veiled in a smokescreen of secrecy, thus rendering the distinction between friend and foe impractical.
Some of the officers unilaterally appointed by Shamu have been fingered by their victims as the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes during last year presidential elections.
Who is Webster Shamu? He is a man who has never worked outside of ZANU (PF), or government, since Independence. He is a gravy-train passenger who has survived and derived his livelihood from parliamentary privilege. He has spent the last decade wallowing in oblivion as the editor of the ZANU (PF) tabloid, the People’s Voice. He is the loyal errand boy for Mugabe and performs his boss’s tasks with satanic enthusiasm. In return for cowardly behaviour, he has been rewarded with the post of Minister of Information and Publicity.
Webster Shamu worked for the Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation, African Service during the greater part of the liberation war. He then joined ZANU and became the ZANU (PF) liberation war disc jockey. He broadcast propaganda and other Marxist mantra from the Voice of Zimbabwe radio station in the comfort of Maputo, Mozambique, away from the war front.
He set up a Maoist style re-education camp in Mashonaland West Province as the ZANU (PF) provincial chairman. Rape, torture, and murder all became synonymous with how those camps were operated by the notorious “Top Six” who were on speed dial with “Matemai” – Shamu’s totem affectionately used by his followers.
Shamu, the pseudo-revolutionary, now displays the very contempt for free press as was once the norm with his erstwhile master P.K. Van Der Byl of Rhodesia. Shamu recently attacked independent radio stations by saying they are, “illegal, extraterritorial pirate broadcasts which violate our sovereignty in the name of media freedoms.”
Shamu forgets that it was radio stations like these during the war of liberation that gave the populace relief, hope, and alternative news to the draconian Law and Order Maintenance Act of Rhodesia. If Zimbabwean broadcasting laws today allowed for independent radio stations, these so-called pirate stations would die a natural death.
It is important in 21st century politics for a vibrant political party to have access to a website, internet radio station, terrestrial radio station, television station and other electronic media services. ZANU (PF) utilises and monopolises state broadcasting facilities for the propagation of its own dogmatic policies.
Shamu is part of the furniture in a burning house—ZANU (PF). He is totally unpredictable, a pathological liar, ruthless and irrational. However, he displays an affable public side that confuses the gullible povo around him—gentleman by day and efficient lord of war by night. He has perfected the art of murder, rape and political mayhem and proudly boasts of being the ZANU (PF) franchise holder for brutality.
By performing game changing human culling tactics during the run-up to every election, from a distance on behalf of Gushungo, Shamu secured his permanent place as one of Africa’s worst leaders in post-colonial history. Whereas most human beings are averse to inflicting misery and pain, Shamu is in his element when leading his devotees, who are always inebriated, supplied with copious amounts of cheap alcohol and smoking ZANU (PF) export grade mbanje “weed”.
“If they know those Natives have all those shortwave sets, there is nothing to prevent Moscow from giving them all types of information that we do not want the Native to hear about.“ – In 1952, the South African Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, Albert Hertzog, told Parliament that the cheap radio set being introduced by the British authorities in their African colonies was problematic.
It is 2009, and Webster Shamu wishes to return Zimbabwe media to the dark ages, keeping her citizens unaware and uninformed and denying any freedom of speech by asking newspapers not to “betray” Zimbabwe, by Zimbabwe Shamu means Mugabe. Mugabe is not a “god”, Mugabe is not Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is not Mugabe, critising him is every Zimbabwean’s patriotic duty. Mugabe is a mere “elected” public servant, a mortal who like all humans is fallible and susceptible to flaws. When left unchecked through totalitarian media censorship Mugabe morphed into a tyrant. Freedom of speech is enshrined in our constitution and no one, absolutely no one, can take that away from us.
Curiously, I find myself agreeing with the Minister’s statement: “Thank God, technology now makes publishing placeless.” I couldn’t have said it more completely.
“Tsuro nenungu mumwena mumwecheta abayiwa ngaabude”
Chapter 47 – “The Man Who Tried to Kill Me”, Madhinga Bucket Boy by Philemon Matibe – www.madhingabucket.com