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Open letter to Sahara News

04 Jun 2015 at 08:18hrs | Views

Dear Sahara News

Righteous anger and an overwhelming sense of disappointment are the motivating factors for the origination of this article. What brought about these strong emotions is the most profane claim to journalism that I have ever witnessed that was enacted in Nigeria last week against President Robert Mugabe.

By way of introduction, I am a Zimbabwean journalist and proud of it. As a legible and registered voter, I stand by the choices I have made and my contribution to shaping the country's political discourse and that includes voting for President Robert Gabriel Mugabe on 31 July 2013.

My grandmother always told me that one should be wary of a mourner who cries more than the bereaved at a funeral. According to her, such individuals are more often than not, the cause of the grief. What I regarded at that time as the ramblings of an old woman now makes perfect sense given the recent decision by B-rate movie actors masquerading as journalists from your outfit to be more Zimbabwean than myself and the 13 million or so of my kinsmen.

The obscene harassment of the President of Zimbabwe who is also the African Union Chairman smacks of a pre-planned and cheap trick by misguided elements who are trying to achieve what they failed to do through the ballot box and their cheap local puppets.

Your gutter outfit claims to concern itself with citizen journalism and activism aimed at denouncing officially-sanctioned corruption and disregard of the democratic principles enshrined in the constitution.
If Sahara News is so concerned with denouncing corruption and undemocratic practices, why not start with your own local problems. In case for some reason, the facts have escaped your inebriated and misguided attention, here is a glance at your country from a foreigner's view.

Meg Handley of Time publication provides the following insight on the perennial bloody disturbances and unending problems in Nigeria:
Nigeria has been wracked by periodic episodes of violence for decades. The country's people are divided about equally between Christians and Muslims and further splintered into about 250 tribes. The tumultuous "middle belt," a so-called cultural fault line, divides the country's Muslim north from the Christian south.
It has been argued that the real reason for the unending violence in Nigeria isn't ethnic or religious differences but the scramble for land, scarce resources and political clout. Poverty, joblessness and corrupt politics drive extremists from both sides to commit horrendous atrocities.

 Although the nation rakes in billions of dollars in oil revenue annually, the majority of Nigerians scrape by on less than a dollar a day. In Plateau State, Muslim cattle herders from the north and Christian farmers from the south vie for control of the fertile plains.

That poor distribution of wealth has also sparked conflict in Nigeria's oil-rich southern Delta region, where militants lobbying for a greater share of oil revenue regularly blow up pipelines and kidnap foreign oil workers.

Violence among Muslim and Christian ethnic groups was largely kept in check by a succession of military regimes until 1999, when Nigeria returned to civilian rule. While democracy permits greater freedom of religious expression in Nigeria, it has also intensified the political and economic friction between ethnic groups. Rioting in 2001 killed more than 1,000 people, and subsequent outbreaks in 2004 and 2008 killed another thousand. Smaller but no less vicious attacks in 2009 claimed dozens of lives. Only recently, militant group, Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 school girls who were abused, killed and maimed.

National Geographic staffer, Tom O'Neill, once described one of Nigeria's major ports, Port Hartcourt, thus "dense, garbage-heaped slums stretch for miles. Choking black smoke from an open-air slaughterhouse rolls over housetops. Streets are cratered with potholes and ruts. Vicious gangs roam school grounds. Peddlers and beggars rush up to vehicles stalled in gas lines. This is Port Harcourt, Nigeria's oil hub, capital of Rivers state, smack-dab in the middle of oil reserves bigger than the United States' and Mexico's combined. Port Harcourt should gleam; instead, it rots."

 Such a scenario requires the immediate attention of self-proclaimed human rights activists such as Sahara News.

If your outfit was sincere in the cause you claim to be yours, you would have your hands full for the next 10 centuries with your country's problems alone. It begs the question, why the overzealous obsession with our so-called problems as Zimbabweans? What is your own in this matter?

At the risk of being labeled a conspiracy theory fanatic but truly convinced all the same, I put it you that the shameless charade you laid bare to the world like an overzealous monkey's bottom was at the instigation of elements who have nothing better  to do than pray for unconstitutional regime change in Zimbabwe.

These elements, having realized that the local dunderheads they have been fronting in the past have failed in their assignment, are now turning to intellectually challenged zealots such as Adeola Fayehun and company.

Zimbabwe has arguably the best brains on the continent and correspondingly sharp journalists. We do not need some demented colonial mentality-shackled zealots frothing at the mouth and appointing themselves our spokespersons.

As a proud Zimbabwean, I say thumbs up to President Mugabe for reacting to the blatantly vulgar assault with his renowned decorum. His security team should also be applauded for not being drawn into reacting in the manner in which the wanna-be Pulitzer prize winners hoped for.

To you Sahara News, it would make more sense to concentrate your attention on the cesspool of corruption your country is swimming in and unending civil strife before embarrassing yourself and your country with foolish acts inspired by delusions of grandeur. They do say charity begins at home.

Yours true journalist
Nicole Hondo

Source - Nicole Hondo
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