ZANU PF succession battles: Charamba plays down Mugabe-Mnangagwa fall-out

President Robert Mugabe and his Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

HARARE – President Mugabe is not worried about the “fictitious framing of factions” in Zanu-PF by the private media as he works well with both Vice Presidents, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Government press secretary George Charamba has said.


He went on to warn the private media that since they are turning themselves into infrastructure for the opposition, they should not cry foul when the hammer falls.

In an interview on Friday, Charamba said: “I meet the President every day. He is not even worried about those reports. He is irritated by them actually. You get a feeling of irritation not of concern.

“He works so well with his two Vice Presidents and the two Vice Presidents work so well with each other. Decisions in the party are done consensually. They are not done by factions because they don’t exist. Now what you are looking at are little editors who want to overreach. They think they can hurry past the President to put on the table a succession debate. They think they can defeat Zanu-PF on behalf of the opposition because they themselves have put themselves in the opposition camp.

Also, even if they can’t defeat Zanu-PF, they think they can make Zanu-PF less sexy. Who they want to look sexy when Zanu-PF is not looking sexy, they can’t say because the opposition is inherently ugly. They know it and they accept it.”

Charamba spoke about the consequences of this behaviour by the private media saying they should not cry foul when Government starts crafting the legal regime for the media industry.

He said the private media had over the past weeks angered both the ruling party and opposition legislators and this could soon backfire.

“Now there is anger in the opposition against the private media and there is anger in the ruling party against the same. Now those two put together will give you the legislature, the law makers. What is more, as a civil servant, I have to make recommendations to the politicians, best practices.

“I will recommend most effective ways of controlling errant behaviour in the newsroom. So you will have a piece of legislation that seeks to restrain rather than to enable media practices. Now its not in the long term interest of the media to begin to threaten political players.

There is a difference between watching them and threatening them. If you want to play your watchdog role, please do, but let your watching be founded,” he said.

Charamba explained further saying: “You can’t tell me that from day one to last day, its Mnangagwa this, Mnangagwa that, Grace Mugabe this, Grace Mugabe that, Kasukuwere this, Kasukuwere that – from January to December. Is that the only reality in this world?

“Its clear that this is now manipulative reporting. Its not longer professional reporting. Mind you laws are not models. They have to be tethered in social reality. We might have best model laws for media legislation, they will never be transposed to Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe must still look at its own situation and then make laws that respond to that situation. Now the situation we are having is one of media excesses and vasazochema.”

He said he was in total support of press freedom but was quick to emphasise that the freedom should be earned.

“Let’s be very clear. The media has to be free, but the media has to be professional. That’s the downside of it, that’s the trade off. By the way, media freedom, press freedom is not an absolute right and we all know it.

“And the key is that that freedom has to be earned. You can’t cry press freedom against the evidence of excesses. In any case when you do so, where do you go for recourse? The same legislators who you have abused from day one to the last day are the same people giving you the law. So where do you go for remedy? KumaBritish and Americans?

“There is no constitution that privileges political players and if you are in the media and you chose to leave the media desk to become an extension of publicity department of a political party, we treat you as a politician. And please don’t cry wolf. Don’t feel unfairly treated when the hammer descends on you because wada mabrickbats yet you are staying in a glass house,” warned Charamb
– Sunday Mail

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