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No to fake news! There are NO NEW SANCTIONS

10 Aug 2018 at 12:55hrs | Views
It is said that the first casualty of war is the truth. Well, I think we can now extend that saying to Zimbabwean elections, as over the past few months, we have seen a series of exaggerations, half-truths and outright lies, each more outrageous than the next.
 
A large proportion of these have come from one presidential candidate. From the bullet train and Trump promising him $15 billion, to claiming to have written Rwanda's ICT policy, Nelson Chamisa's lies were correctly labelled ‘Alice in Wonderland' by the BBC. Sadly, the one thing he seemed to be telling the truth about was that he would not recognise any election result that didn't declare him the winner – with tragic consequences.
 
While politicians lying is one thing, fake news is quite another. And over the past week we have seen a spate of fake news stories emerging from the opposition. In fact, so thorough is their misinformation campaign that they have even managed to fool and embarrass established newspapers.
 
The Times, one of the best respected papers in the world, was conned into publishing a fake story that the UK had intervened in an international resolution on ED's behalf. This was labelled ‘complete rubbish' by Philippe Van Damme, the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, who declared himself "appalled by journalistic standards based on unverified & false rumours."
 
In a similar vein, NewsDay was forced to publish a front page apology and retraction after reporting that the MDC had already filed an election petition to the Constitutional Court, based on deliberately misleading tweets from senior MDC figures.
 
Neither of these instances reflect particularly well on the mainstream media's reporting on Zimbabwe, much of which is so blinded by the past that it is unable to see the changes occurring.
 
But while unprofessional and revealing worrying levels of bias, these are ' innocent' mistakes In contrast, the spin doctors and fake news peddlers in the MDC have no such excuse. They are operating a deliberate and strategic operation to discredit the new dispensation, and turn the public at home and abroad against ED, based on lies and half-truths.
 
The discourse surrounding the amended ZIDERA (US Sanctions Bill) should be seen within this context. Let us not forget that this is a bill the MDC lobbied for – notably in that infamous trip by Chamisa and Biti to DC soon after ED came to power, in which they begged Congress not to relax any of the sanctions, for fear that it would hurt them at the ballot box. Biti admitted as much this week, when he told reporters "We will make sure they don't get a cent… we have done it before."
 
Reading the gloating of the MDC supporters on the social media and some of their cheerleaders in the private media, one might have thought that Trump himself had slapped on new sanctions to punish the Zimbabwean people for the temerity of electing ED (let's put aside for now the distasteful spectacle of Biti and co celebrating sanctions that will punish the poorest Zimbabweans).
 
The reality however is much more prosaic. Congress has merely amended the original act to reflect their desire for re-engagement with Zimbabwe, albeit with preconditions. The act was passed well before the elections (Trump's signature this week was merely a formality), and thus has nothing to do with the quality of the vote. In fact, Jeff Flake, one of the two Senators behind the bill, declared himself broadly satisfied with the electoral process, praising Zimbabwe's "continued progress" under ED, and tweeting that "Democracy doesn't get any better than this" after witnessing the vote counting in ‘rural Zimbabwe'.
 
The bottom line is that while we may have hoped that the updated ZIDERA bill would remove some sanctions, it adds no new sanctions. To claim it does so, as the opposition are doing, is simply the latest in a long list of MDC fake news items.
 
Not only are Biti, Chamisa and friends actively calling for new sanctions that will hurt the poorest Zimbabweans, just to help them overturn the democratic will of the public, but when they fail, they are spreading fake news claiming they have succeeded.
This is a position that all patriotic and truth loving Zimbabweans must reject!

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Source - Faith Hope
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