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Nyarota's latest book takes aim at opposition

by Staff reporter
25 Feb 2024 at 09:25hrs | Views
Journalist Geoffrey Nyarota has released his latest book, 'The Journalist as an Outcast: Perils of Investigative Reporting in Zimbabwe.'

Alpha Media Holdings chairman, Trevor Ncube was the guest of honour at the wellattended function last Friday.

'The Journalist as an Outcast' is a sequel to Against the Grain, Memoirs of a Zimbabwean Newsman. Nyarota also published 'The Graceless Fall of Robert Mugabe, an End of a Dictators Reign' and 'The Honourable Minister, an Anatomy of Endemic Corruption.' The author calls the later "truthful fiction."

The new book highlights that Nyarota worked as professor at Bard College in upstate new York alongside famous Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe of Things Fall Apart fame.

After seven years in the us, Nyarota returned home, again.

He said it had taken him six years to craft the manuscript which turns a critical spotlight on the opposition. He had no idea the Zimbabwean opposition would find itself in the total disarray it finds itself today, driven and motivated by self-interest.

"My book is not about castigating the opposition though," Nyarota said finally.

"I am turning my focus to them for the first time, having criticised only Zanu PF all my career as a journalist. We, the journalists are collectively guilty. in our anxiety and desperation to liberate Zimbabwe we conspired to protect the MDC. We never saw evil, we never heard any evil and we never said evil about Tsvangirai, despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary. He was protected by us. His successors as well. i single out advocate Eric Matinenga, who is here tonight and is the only politician cast in positive light in my book."

"I couldn't have published this book without my long suffering dear wife, ursula. she became my nurse, my cook my carer in the six years during which I wrote this book."

The book says Nyarota is battling colon cancer, kidney and heart problems.

"I thank cardiologist Professor Jonathan Matenga, Professor innocent Gangaidzo, oncologist, Dr Webster Kadzatse, Dr Nyasha Maboreke and his team at Samuel Leon Hospital and Professor Chiratidzo Ellen Ndlovu and her team at the Harare Haemodialysis Centre. They keep me alive and I am eternally grateful to them. Much Masunda my former boss and the first chairperson of ANZ, edited this book."

Nyarota, edited the weekly Manica Post in Mutare, before moving to Bulawayo daily The Chronicle, in 1983. He was unceremoniously removed from the newspaper in 1988 after he investigated and exposed the Willowgate scandal. The sensational story revealed rampant corruption among the top brass of the Robert Mugabe government.

Nyarota launched The Daily News in 1999 as its founding editor-in-chief.in January 2003 he was unceremoniously fired. He relocated to the Diaspora where he wrote his first book, ‘Against the Grain, Memoirs of a Zimbabwean Journalist,' published in 2006. Nyarota was then a Nieman Fellow at Harvard university.

In his presentation, Ncube said of Nyarota: "He was my boss. I still regard him as my boss. The day I finished reading the book I got into a mini-depression because Geoff's book goes there. Half the people in it I have encountered. They have inflicted the same pain on me too. Maybe the book also needs to be about forgiveness."

"Do Zimbabweans understand the role of journalists? Do the politicians? all politicians want journalists that they can control.

"Business also wants a press they can control. The biggest threat is from advertisers and business. They want us to write puff pieces about them.

"Do we understand why Geoff has suffered? A life of purpose is one where some of them called him 'little Nyarota.'

"Posterity can understand what you had to do with Willowgate because you wrote about it in your book. We had an opportunity for a turning point as a country but we missed it."

"This is a book that is going to shock you all.it cost you Geoff, but it didn't kill you. You lost property, and that pained me."

"You delivered at The Chronicle, The Financial Gazette and The Daily News. Your reputation and your experience was the rock on which The Daily News was formed."

"When they got rid of you at anZ in 2010 we were coming up with NewsDay. it was an opportunity for us. I couldn't believe it. We were smiling all the way to the bank. You won nine media awards. There is a price to integrity, reputation and credibility. anZ's refusal to pay you your terminal benefits, twice, takes nothing away from your reputation."

"You asked in the book: 'But what exactly went wrong?' This is my answer: nothing went wrong. You ran your race. The impact of your life might not benefit you but it will benefit posterity."

"I would have written a safer book. not Geoff. Geoff doesn't do 'safe.'"

Ncube proposed: "How about a Geoff nyarota school of Journalism?" to wild applause."such school would be a fitting tribute to Nyarota's illustrious career as a journalist."

Nyarota launched The Daily News in 1999 as its founding editor-in-chief. In January 2003 he was unceremoniously fired. He relocated to the Diaspora where he wrote his first book, 'Against the Grain, Memoirs of a Zimbabwean Journalist,' published in 2006.

Nyarota was then a Nieman Fellow at Harvard university. Nyarota infers that opposition politicians, MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai in particular, were involved in the return of Daily News during the Government of national unity. He suggests Tsvangirai was uncomfortable with having his former friend, the investigative journalist, at the helm of a no-holds-barred newspaper at a time when many questions were being asked about his performance and his party. Nyarota suggests that ANZ were pressured to dispense with him after it received its publishing licence in March, 2010.

At the launch last Friday, Nyarota recalled an incident from 2006.

"I was invited to attend a conference in Denver, Colorado" he said.

"I met three people I knew there. One was Pastor TD Jakes, the famous American televangelist. The other two were Prof Arthur Guseni Oliver Mutambara and David Coltart...I had then recently arrived from Rhodes university in South Africa where my first title, Against the Grain, was launched. I had two copies of that book in my briefcase. I was excited to meet TD Jakes who had just released a book of his own. We signed and exchanged copies. now i was in a quandary, only one copy of my book and two Zimbabweans to give it to. I gave Arthur Mutambara the book. He pounded my hand in congratulations."

"We proceeded to that afternoon's session of the conference where TD Jakes made an eloquent and scintillating presentation. It was a round conference hall and I sat on the opposite side facing my two compatriots. AGO was so engrossed that he totally ignored the TD Jakes' presentation as he poured through Against the Grain. The Professor did not appear for dinner and he was late for breakfast the following morning. When he eventually joined us, he was holding his copy of the book. He held my hand and congratulated me again, saying he had not slept a wink."

"'I have finished reading the book just now,' he said'"

Source - the independent