Mugabe slams private media ‘lies’

Mugabe slams private media ‘lies’

ZIMBABWE – Harare – Pressure is growing against Zimbabwe’s privately owned media, with President Robert Mugabe telling Zanu-PF’s central committee that Zimbabweans should ignore the “heatwave of criticism from our enemies”.


He was referring to recent domestic media reports that quarrelling factions undermined Zanu-PF.

“They have nothing to talk about so they will create something,” he said.

“But we were not born yesterday and so we know how to take these jibes, allegations and lies that are manufactured every night and published every morning.

“We take them for what they are – rubbish for the dustbin.”

He warned party members not to talk to journalists working for non Zanu-PF media.

“We don’t want the enemy to have ammunition to destroy the party.”

His wife Grace Mugabe also attacked the media and non-governmental organisations last week as she addressed a rally at a rural stronghold in central Zimbabwe, the second rally in a week.

She attacked journalists telling them their “mothers would be ashamed of them”.

She said she was repeatedly misreported by non Zanu-PF media.

“We want diversity, but don’t write silly things, who are your mothers?” she fumed.

She said NGOs were evil and plotted with the media to harass her.

She told the rally she was visiting them as Zanu-PF secretary of the women’s league and handed out tons of food, tractors and farming equipment bought via a soft development loan from Brazil designed to boost agricultural production.

“This is exactly what I should be doing, going to the people. I cannot sit all day in the State House painting my nails while people die of hunger, no.”

She arrived at the rally in a Zimbabwe Air Force helicopter with massive security and was accompanied by Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko and more than a dozen cabinet ministers and senior government executives.

George Charamba, a presidential spokesman, has twice spoken out against the privately owned media in the past two weeks, claiming that its information about Grace and factions in Zanu-PF was wrong.

But Mugabe and Grace have themselves lashed out at factions within Zanu-PF.

Mugabe last week attacked “undisciplined and rogue” youths and accused them of stoking divisions in the party.

“We have witnessed lower organs of the party or cadres challenging superior organs or leaders appointed by the party to lead them. Such actions amount to insubordination.”

Hundreds of cabinet ministers, senior public servants and party officials were sacked or sidelined in the past year since Grace began her campaign to oust former vice-president Joice Mujuru ahead of the party’s December congress.

She claimed Mujuru was plotting to assassinate her husband.

Many political analysts said last year Mujuru had majority support within Zanu-PF to replace Mugabe when he retired or died.

Privately many of those analysts say they believe she still has more support than any other presidential hopeful if she is ever allowed to return to Zanu-PF after Mugabe goes.

Grace is accused by the privately owned media of plotting against senior Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who many believe should succeed Mugabe when he dies.

She is accused of collaborating with an anti-Mnangagwa faction of younger Zanu-PF leaders who are said to support her candidacy to succeed her husband.

But many believe Grace’s energy is necessary to keep Zanu-PF going as it has failed to deliver on its 2013 election pledge to create 2 million new jobs.

Tens of thousands lost jobs in the shrinking private sector since the last elections as the economy continued to shrivel.

And traditional Zanu-PF supporters in the public sector are anxious because Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has hinted there will be dramatic cuts in the public service as its wage bill consumes more then 80 percent of taxes.

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