Zimbabwean power talks and media blackout


The Zimbabwean negotiations have been topical lately, cracking front pages of several ‘upper class’ newspapers. Despite the fact that the media has been deprived of information, and leaks (Theresa Makone) have also been ‘sealed’.


You’d recall that the South African Football Association (SAFA) pulled the same stunt (minilicious blog or facebook notes) when they accepted Carlos ‘tatamamillions’ Parreira’s resignation as Bafana Bafana’s head coach and employed Joel Santana as the new head coach. The stunt worked to their advantage as we witnessed the first smooth hand over from one coach to the next in years.


It looks like, well it doesn’t look like but it is the same stunt that Mbeki, Tsvangirai, Mutabara and Mugabe are pulling by agreeing to a media black out on the Zimbabwe talks or should I say Zimbabwe power scramble.


One wonders is this a benchmark for the future or could it be just a once or twice act. It is a subject that we (those interested) should reaserch some day, to see its how effectiveness non-effective its advantages and disadvantages to community and the parties concerned is, i.e. Media vs sources (those applying the media black out).


Honestly ‘speaking’ the speculations are the primary cause of concern (I’m sure economists will agree with me here) and most of these speculations are delivered through our columnists and ‘experts’. i.e. a current speculation is that the talks are stalled by, whether Zanu-PF would retain control over the police and army in any power-sharing formula and if whether Mutambara, leader of a splinter faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had signed an accord with Mugabe (these are on the NEWS).   

Is it that difficult for once to wait for the final outcome and then start pointing fingers when one has all the facts instead of speculating, I thought news was based on facts and not speculation. It is assumptions and speculations like these that lead to panic which in most cases leads to chaos (just like arriving late in an exam room, in this case only most to nothing works out as per preparation/plan).


To be brief so far the media black out have prove to be beneficial to those who apply it, it is therefore a challenge to the media to prove otherwise.      


1 Comment

Filed under Commentary, Politics

One response to “Zimbabwean power talks and media blackout

  1. Nqobile Buthelezi(FJP)

    Interesting thought Sipho.
    But don’t you think the news are making speculations on the situation and outcome of the power sharing saga in Zim, simply because they are not allowed or more so, blocked to report on the state of facts as they stand. I mean really, the situation is quite biased, depending from which angle one approaches it.

    At one end, maybe Mbeki was strategic in negotiating for a power sharing deal in Zim. That allowed Tsvangirai a chance to get within the government system ( which he wouldn’t have maybe had they gone through with the runoff, he wouldn’t have seen the light of day, who knows how Mugabe would have mobilised his forces). Or maybe if they went through with it, the results, whatever the status quo could have turned out, might have caused more havoc, destruction and loss of lives than actually rectifying the situation in Zim.
    So, we, the media and economists can only speculate the probability of the events. Yet, we could never know, really, how the people (who are the intergral center of concern in this matter) could have felt and been affected either way.

    I think the onus is on present media personnel (like you and i’m proud to say this) to educate citizens about reporting options like citizen journalism, you know, so we can get a precise response from the masses out there, who have voices, in our absence, that need to be heard

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