Charamba: Tail Between Legs Begs SADC Mercy
OPINION – Tail between the legs Mugabe spokesman George Charamba has issued a statement to try to smooth over the stinging criticism of South African President Jacob Zuma and the SADC Troika made by President Robert Mugabe, the Sunday Mail and Jonathan Moyo.
In it he tried to distance the newspaper and the Politburo Member from the government, saying he (Charamba) was the spokesman for the President and that the only problem that Mugabe had with the SADC Troika was the way the meeting was handled.
The meeting started late; they kept President Mugabe waiting (apparently a mortal sin), and they did not, as they normally do, avail the Mugabe delegation of the Facilitator (Zuma’s) report before it was tabled before the Troika Summit.
This departure was exactly the thing that made the Troika Summit significant, because in previous summits the reports were made available, then the Zimbabwe delegation would spend the night convincing the delegation to tone down the report.
If they failed to tone down the report the Zimbabwe delegation would walk out before the report was read. This time Zuma refused to be drawn to that because he had given Mugabe sufficient time to implement the Global Political Agreement and Mugabe had always given excuses.
Zuma had made numerous trips to Zimbabwe as had his facilitators’ team and now he is fed up, so he said it in the report which he table before Mozambique and Zambia’s Heads of State at the Troika Summit, which is as it should be.
Mugabe was unhappy about being denounced at SADC and he also said it to his Central Committee meeting. Their media machinery directed by Jonathan Moyo followed suite and denounced Zuma.
Now Charamba, in yesterday’s statement which was not written in his usual bombastic style, went on about how consensual SADC usual is and how the last Troika summit was a departure.
Finally he said the criticism was meant to the Troika not the SADC and that Zimbabwe would never contemplate leaving SADC.
Analysing the statement, it is clear that they have realised that they are in danger, not of leaving SADC, but of being kicked out of SADC. Jonathan Moyo has now reached the limits of where he can take Mugabe’s revolutionary rhetoric.
Usually Charamba and the Mugabe aristocracy are happy to go along with it and indeed they reward the nutty Professor with appointments and contracts when he does a good job, and they give him a long rope with which to exercise his creativity, but this time they thought he went a bit far.
Or rather they all went a bit far together with him, but have now seen the folly of their ways. Was it perhaps because of a threat from down South that Mugabe could be sent back to his pre-GNU status as an unrecognised President?
Charamba trying to deny that the Sunday Mail is a Zanu (PF) or Mugabe organ does not wash with anybody. If anything it might be called dereliction of duty on his (Charamba’s) part since he is the super-editor of all the Zimbabwe Newspapers stable titles.
For having practiced the editors on the sovereignty mantra every week Charamba on behalf of his master, should not now disown the editors for adding a stanza or two to the mantra in the same practiced format.
In fact the incident clearly illustrates the pitfalls of a kept media, the kind that is being run in Zimbabwe where, from Pockets Hill to Herald House, all the editors trip over each other in attempts to anticipate what might please the Jongwe.
If the editors were allowed to be creative and exercise their own professional judgment, Charamba would not have to be up every night checking whether they have not overstepped the mark or under-stepped. He would not have to be barking instructions down the telephone line nor going to Pockets Hill to supervise the appointment of a sub-editor.
Media reform is long over-due and we do not understand why it is not a priority, starting with liberating the state radio and newspapers. – Changezimbabwe