Peter Nyoni | As the ZANU PF succession war that finally resulted in the fall of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe got hotter, the state media played a crucial role in shaping the environment that brought the coup.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa (ED), whose faction was in charge of the state media made sure it played it’s very important part, in most cases he used the state media to attack the Generation 40 group, to the extent that former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo resorted to the use of twitter to air his views.
Moyo just like any other member of the G40, had lost the access they used to have to the state media, to some extent he couldn’t get much coverage either from the private media.
Mnangagwa used the state media to enhance his agenda; he used it to irritate Mugabe and his team.
While it was uncommon, previously to have the state media, confirming the war that was within the ruling party, Lacoste made it clear that the issues got coverage, Mugabe himself during one of his famous birthday interview expressed concern that he was unhappy with the way the state media was exposing the war in his party.
“The way the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, The Herald, are operating, one is made to wander if these are still part of our state media,” he said then.
He was worried on how the two were exposing the ruling party’s shortcomings and power squabbles.
His wife, Grace Mugabe also added her voice, on how the state media which had been her husband’s mouth piece for years had turned away from their perceived norm. At one time she publicly lambasted George Charamba over the matter. Charamba who was the Permanent Secretary for the ministry of Media, and Broadcasting Services, was humiliated at a rally in Chinhoyi, called a little boy by Grace.
“Varikuti Saviour Kasukuwere arikuda kubvisa President, zvingaite izvozvo, nekuda kwekakomana ako. Iwe kamukomana iwe simuka, une zidumbu asi zvaurikuita hazvina kunaka). (They are saying Saviour Kasukuwere wants to topple the President, is that possible, it is all because of this little boy. You little boy stand up, you have a berry but, you are you have no right to write bad things about anyone appointed by the President….), she fumed.
“The Herald is being used to attack some people, but others are not being attacked. Stop it … I have tried to bring take you close to the first family (Charamba) but you did not reciprocate … You cannot separate the president from his wife. That can’t happen … You must stand for the truth and write developmental stories … For instance there is a lot of good work I am doing in Mazowe but you don’t cover it. You have no right to attack ministers George,” she said then, referring to how some members of the G40 were being lambasted in the state media, like Moyo and Kasukuwere,” she added.
It was believed that Mnangagwa was using the fact that his buddies were in charge of the ministries that deals with the media. Ever since they got those powerful ministries, team Lacoste used it to forward their interests, for ED’s benefit.
Peter Nyoni is a Zimbabwean businessman. He travels frequently between Harare and South Africa. He writes in his own capacity