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Sleeping Like a Hare Millions Billions Trillions    
   
African Tears Beyond Tears Innocent Victims Imire Can you hear the drums, by Cathy Buckle


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Still beat you over the head
April 30, 2011, 10:40 am

 

In the middle of the day when you couldn’t find a news channel that wasn’t covering the royal wedding, ZBC TV were dishing out the same old same old. The daily dose of propaganda jingles praising Zanu PF and Mr Mugabe followed by an assortment of political lectures and finger pointing which is thinly disguised as news reports. While the Royal couple stood at the altar and exchanged vows we were being told that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and capable of running its own affairs.  Then came a peculiar and ironic lecture from a senior Zanu PF official telling us not to belittle the efforts of SADC and to stop using the media to perpetrate hate speech.

While an antique horse drawn carriage carried the newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, ZBC TV were still ignoring the event.  The real irony in ZBC TV’s non existent coverage of the British Royal Wedding, was the fact that Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the UK, Gabriel Machinga, was on the official guest list to attend the ceremony at Westminster Abbey. It was a controversial invitation and one British newspaper, the Daily Mail, had described Machinga as a servant of President Robert Mugabe’s “murderous and kleptocratic regime.”

At the end of the day when the worlds news channels were replaying highlights of the Royal Wedding, ZBC TV were still showing the finger in what was obviously a deliberate snub. The evening news bulletin carried repeats of all their midday reports as well as politburo member Simon Khaya Moyo paying tribute to China on celebrating the 90th anniversary of communism. And then, like a jug of iced water and with an undeniably smug look on her face the news reader told Zimbabwe about the British Royal wedding in a sort of “Oh, by the way” tone of voice. Thirty minutes into the main news bulletin of the day and in a single sentence unaccompanied by either film clip or still photograph, the announcer said Prince William and Kate Middleton had got married. Without drawing breath, the news reader then turned to her colleague and said: “and now for business news we cross to…”

So Zimbabwe won’t remember the Royal Wedding of the 29th April 2011 even though Britain gives us multiple millions of pounds in aid every year. In fact just two months ago in February, the UK said they were considering increasing aid to Zimbabwe to more than a £100 million a year, as a ‘reward’ for democratic reforms. It was a very controversial proposal which  political analyst Professor John Makumbe summed up beautifully when he said: “Even if they did get the money, you and I both know that ZANU PF are the kind to take the money and still beat you over the head.”

Zimbabwe will remember the 29th April as one of those strange days when heavy, unexpected, unseasonal rain came sweeping in and sent people running. Not running in, but running out, into the rain to try and cover their newly harvested maize cobs lying out in the open to dry.  We well also remember the 29th April as the day when Zanu PF finally stopped threatening us with elections which they said were coming before the end of the year. Finally the state controlled Herald newspaper ran headlines that there won’t be an election in 2011 after all and Zanu PF politburo member Patrick Chinamasa said he thought Zimbabwe wouldn’t be ready for an election until 2013. It remains to be seen if this dramatic climb down by Zanu PF will see a reduction in the wave of violence and an end to the widespread arrest of MDC officials.

Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy. 



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