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Next, university graduates will be 'hailing' Mnangagwa for capping them!

17 Jan 2023 at 19:15hrs | Views
It is now a well-established fact that the state-controlled broadcaster, ZBC - as well as the rest of the state media in Zimbabwe - is an embarrassment not only to the journalism profession, but also the country as a whole.

A mere glimpse at other regional public broadcasters - with SABC (South Africa, NBC (Namibia) in mind - is ample evidence of how our own has stooped to such disgraceful and disgusting depths of unprofessionalism and ineptitude.

By ethical standards, and even according to Zimbabwe's Constitution - state-owned media should be balanced, independent, free and fair in its coverage such that, Section 61(4) mandates it to 'be impartial…(and) afford fair opportunity for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions'.

Yet, what we witness is a disturbing trend - whereby, our state-controlled media have been shamefully reduced to nothing more than a desk in the ruling ZANU PF information and publicity department.

The sickening pandering to, and hero-worshipping of, the ruling establishment in Zimbabwe - most particularly, of President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa - is so nauseating, as it has reached ridiculously deplorable levels.

Indeed, most television-owning Zimbabweans have since stopped watching ZBC - and, for very good reasons, since anyone with a choice can never voluntarily subject himself to such torture on a daily basis - opting to sacrifice their hard-earned US dollars to pay for DStv (digital satellite television).

Of course, I am one of those who could not endure the brutal torment of watching ZBC - especially, being a journalist myself, the experience is unbearable, and can easily lead one onto the brink of insanity.

However, due to the desire to know what is happening in my own country, I have grudgingly resorted to spending just one or two minutes simply reading the headlines scrolling at the bottom of the screen during news bulletins - then, immediately switching to other more educational and informative channels, without ever bothering listening to the news itself.

The appalling sub-standards are not confined to the flagrant bias in the news reports - but, extend to the pathetic shoddy research, presentation, and lack of depth - touching other productions, such as current affairs.

If one decides to delve into brazen unethical propaganda - then, you may as well do a perfect job - not just hurriedly cobbling together some shoddy work, and calling that a news production.

As a consequence, if I require a more detailed local account, I turn to another state-owned broadcaster, ZTN Prime - although, their workmanship is still fledgling, they are way ahead of ZBC.

This morning was no different.

In my daily ritual of perusing through the headlines scrolling at the bottom of the screen on ZBC news - I came across something to the effect that beneficiaries of presidential scholarships had hailed Mnangagwa for empowering them!

I tried to ignore this - since, there is nothing new in such sycophantic ludicrous statements, which are a staple on the channel.

However, eventually I could not stop myself - for the fact that, such distortions of truths, and deliberate misinformation cannot go unchallenged.

I have written about this before, and will say it again and again - until the nation understands these facts.

Presidential programs are not sponsored by Mnangagwa, nor are they his personal initiatives - but, the product of the office of the president.

As a nation, we need to grasp the separation between Mnangagwa as a person, and his office.

An example I love to site is that of the US PEPFAR program  - which is the 'US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief' - involved in providing, as the name suggests, aid in the area of HIV/AIDS, globally.

No matter how grateful one may be - and, indeed, we need to be people with a thankful heart - it would be extremely absurd for any recipient to 'hail' and glorify US President Joe Biden.

US PEPFAR is not Biden's personal program - but, that of the office of the POTUS (President of the US).

The most logical expression of gratitude would be to thank either the US government, or better still, the US people - who sponsor such initiatives through their taxes.

The two are separate!

That is why, even when Biden exists the presidency, US PEPFAR will continue on under a new president, even of a different political party - just as has been the case during the tenure of numerous other previous leaders.

The same applies to the 'Presidential Scholarship Fund' in Zimbabwe - or, any other program under the presidency.

They are not Mnangagwa programs or schemes - but, of the office of the president - which will continue under subsequent presidents, way after his (Mnangagwa's) tenure, even from different political parties.

Let us remember that this 'Presidential Scholarship Fund' was initiated under ousted late dictator Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

As with every other initiative by the government of Zimbabwe - these are funded by the people of Zimbabwe through their taxes.

Not a single cent directly comes from Mnangagwa's pocket - except only via the money he pays the government in taxes.

Therefore, before singing the praises of Mnangagwa - whether over scholarships, or agricultural inputs, or food aid, or some income-generating program - beneficiaries should remember that, we all funded these things.

In fact, even the beneficiaries themselves funded these inputs, aid, or schemes - as each one of us pays taxes, in one form or another - whether by way of VAT (value added tax), or PAYE (pay-as-you-earn), or IMTT (intermediate money transfer tax), or duty at the border.

As such, despite the need to be appreciative of whatever we receive - as that is the godly thing to do - those who need to be thanked are the people of Zimbabwe, and definitely not Mnangagwa as an individual.

The sooner we understand these facts, the better for all of us.

We need to exorcise this dark spirit of hero-worshipping our leaders that has gripped Zimbabweans - since this is not taking us anywhere positive, is retrogressive, and only inculcates idolization of individuals - instead of actually holding them to account.

A leadership that is not held accountable, and constantly forced to be on their toes, is counter-productive and takes the nation backwards - due to that absence of pressure to perform to the highest standards.

It is exceedingly preposterous when a nation is indoctrinated to 'hail, praise, commend, thank, applaud' the president for every little thing.

What should we expect next?

University graduands 'hailing' Mnangagwa for capping them during their graduation - as he was 'empowering them'!

As a leader in my own right - even just as the head of my household - I expect to be stretched to my limits, as only that way, I produce my best.

So, why not the head of the nation?

 - Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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