EDITORIAL COMMENT: Local private media must self-introspect

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Local private media must self-introspect

“Sometimes you see what you want to see because it fits the picture you already have in your head. It’s hard to let go of those old pictures and see things as they are,” Tracy Holczer wrote in The Secret Hum of a Daisy.

We were reminded of this beautiful quote yesterday when, together with NewsDay, we carried stories on President Mnangagwa’s arrival in China on Monday for his first State visit.

The polarised headlines — “ED, Xi knuckle down to business” and “ED blows $2,3m on China jaunt” — in The Herald and NewsDay respectively are reflective of a new and old picture.

The new picture — a classic painting, with majestic strokes of bright colours of hope — is that of a new order that is hardworking and has gained much needed international endorsement. The “picture” is on the wall: ED is in China for his most important engagement yet towards Zimbabwe’s economic revival. At least $500 million worth of deals had been sealed by the time the President landed at Beijing Capital International Airport, a clear indication of what’s to come.

Hate the picture, love the picture, it’s in your face!
Investors are lining up. In fact, they are falling over each other just to get into the mix of things before it’s too late. Yes, some sceptical investors have said they will only come in after credible elections are held in a few months’ time, but early birds have been pouncing on the fattest worms ever since ED’s rise to the top job in November last year.

The old picture — a dull charcoal on canvass, poorly framed and unsealed — is just charred remains of a past many Zimbabweans want to forget fast. The NewsDay is no exception: like Mr Robert Mugabe, ED’s trips are measured by their individual mathematical cost today and not the long-term, overall development trajectory the nation is taking.

But if ED can make half-a-billion dollars for Zimbabwe through a “jaunt” one can only imagine how much investment he can seal during an official business trip.

It is difficult to let go of the traumatising pictures of Mr Mugabe’s trips, which yielded little result. It is difficult to now see things as they are. ED cannot “long” walk to Beijing. While the figures touted by NewsDay are questionable, they remain reasonable.

Let’s face it, we stand to gain more. Billions more!
The Chinese are no Mother Teresa; they need guarantees. They promised in the past, but like any other investor, they were sceptical about Zimbabwe’s future under Mr Mugabe. In ED, they have found a guarantee.

So what is the bigger picture: That the trip reportedly gobbled $2,5 million or that deals worth $500 million had been signed by Monday? Is the private media seeing things as they are or what they want to see because it already fits their oppositional stance?

We urge Zimbabweans to not be disillusioned by negative elements bent on painting a gloomy picture even as the rays of light pierce from the end of the tunnel.

Besides, why are they not telling us who was not meant to be part of ED’s delegation. Special Advisor, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa; Finance Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa, Industry and Commerce Minister Cde Mike Bimha, Minister of Transport Cde Joram Gumbo, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Cde Prisca Mupfumira or Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister Cde Supa Mandiwanzira?

Is any one of them irrelevant?
Then, of course, there is the large contingent from the private sector, something that is rare and hardly ever happened in the past. These are the people who constitute the engine of economic development and ED made sure they interact with their counterparts in China to tell the story of a transforming Zimbabwe.

Local private media need to self-introspect. It’s a public secret that they are for sanctions, and without America and Britain the sun doesn’t rise. But a little self-respect can’t hurt that much. We are Zimbabweans, we prosper or suffer together.