The government has banned an explosive media conference on journalism, political tolerance and phobias at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) after some high-profile delegates viciously tore into the ruling Zanu PF’s growing authoritarian rule and political repression, as well its well-documented history of intolerance and ruthlessly crushing dissent.

Zanu PF is now targeting critical voices, including suppressing academics and academic freedom at universities, opposition parties and civil society ahead of elections in August.
Following the stinging criticisms which cut President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime deep to the bone, it was abruptly announced today the conference has been banned.

This reflected Zanu PF fascist intolerance, repression and brutality; the party’s DNA.

The conference programme was loaded with powerful critical voices which took no prisoners, lambasting Zanu PF’s political violence and brutality despite that the constitution recognises and protects diversity, hence tolerance.

University of Zimbabwe Professor Fainos Mangena, Dean for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, set the ball rolling presenting his introductory remarks, followed by the Department of Creative Media and Communication chair Dr Ngonidzashe Muwonwa,
Professor Lovemore Madhuku and Dr Alexander Rusero, a university lecturer of politics, international relations and media studies.

Rusero’s observations were enlightening and withering, saying Zimbabwe is not yet free.
There were also deliveries by Dr Pedzisai Maedza, an Intercultural Performance Scholar and playwright.

Local media practitioner Zenzele Ndebele rocked the boat and fuelled official hostility when he zeroed in on Gukurahundi to show the dynamics between political intolerance, phobias and media.

Ndebele’s examples drawn from the Gukurahundi hit Mnangagwa hard as he accused him of hate speech, leading to genocide.

In his presentation, Ndebele also said media was complicit in the Gukurahundi genocide then and now as it continues downplaying atrocities and bloodshed, calling them “disturbances”.

Presenters said while the media plays an influential positive and negative role on reporting and mediating political intolerance, phobias and violence, the truth is that politicians in Zimbabwe are the main architects of the problem.

Zanu PF’s youth representative Tendai Chirau and main opposition CCC deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba also delivered addresses.

Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba chickened out.

Other big guns who were due to present include Professor Herman Manyora from Kenya, Dr Admore Tshuma, a Zimbabwean journalist-turned-academic from the University of Bristol, and decolonisation studies guru Professor Sabelo Ndlovu Gatsheni, who leads research on Epistemologies of the Global South at the University of Bayreuth, Germany.