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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles
developments and Murambatsvina
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ)
Weekly Media Update 2005-29
Monday August 1st – August 7th 2005
THE extent of
Zimbabwe’s political crisis, which seemingly regained momentum by
Murambatsvina, also remained largely untold in the government
As a result,
those who rely on these news sources remained ignorant of renewed
efforts by South Africa, the African Union and the UN to revive
talks between ZANU PF and the MDC as a first step to resolving Zimbabwe’s
political and economic crises. This only appeared in the private
papers only carried two stories on the talks while ZBH carried three.
Even then, the reports were not aimed at apprising their audiences
of growing international concern over Zimbabwe’s crises, but were
based on pre-empting such plans.
The Herald, the Chronicle (1/8), and ZBH (1/8, 6am)
merely focussed on President Mugabe’s rejection of talks without
balancing it with the international community’s calls for dialogue
between the rival parties, a recommendation that was also made by
UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka in her Murambatsvina report.
media quoted Mugabe saying he had only invited UN Secretary General
Koffi Annan " to assess the aftermath of the clean-up
and not to superintend our political relations with the MDC",
adding, "Anyone who seeks to foster relations with the
MDC will be going against our own democratic principles and we shall
resist that stance from whomsoever."
media revealed that despite Mugabe’s angry rejection of talks, the
international community was unrelenting in its resolve to find a
solution to the Zimbabwean crisis. Studio 7 (3/8) for example, reported
that the AU had appointed former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano
as its special envoy to Zimbabwe, in an effort to address the country’s
The Daily Mirror (2 & 5/8) and the Independent
also reported that SA was using Zimbabwe’s request for US$1 billion
loan from that country as leverage to force Mugabe to the negotiating
Studio 7 (4&6/8),
The Daily Mirror and The Financial Gazette (4/8) also
quoted MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai expressing his readiness to
meet Mugabe, emphasising the importance of dialogue in solving the
media shied away from these issues. Instead, they diverted attention
from Tibaijuka’s recommendations with glowing stories on the purported
achievements of Operation Garikai. The government Press carried
10 such stories while 21 appeared on ZBH.
None of them
provided a comprehensive picture of the operation’s achievements.
Instead, they simply regurgitated official comment. For example,
The Herald (5/8) quoted a spokesman of a government team
appointed to assess the progress of Garikai in Mashonaland
West, Vincent Hungwe, praising the "progress" made
in Chinhoyi, Chegutu, Karoi and Kariba and bemoaning the "challenges"
facing reconstruction in Kadoma and Murombedzi. He did not elaborate
on the ‘challenges’ nor was he asked to.
nature was also apparent in ZBH’s reports. Almost all its 21 stories
on Garikai were passive commentaries on ministerial tours
of construction sites in various parts of the country. The officials
were quoted expressing satisfaction with the reconstruction programme.
private media presented a different picture in 11 stories they carried
on Garikai. The stories, as illustrated by The Standard’s
story, Operation Garikai a ‘pie in the sky’, reported that
nothing much had materialised under the programme.
The paper revealed
that government’s target of building 5 000 houses by August 31st
was unlikely since little progress was being made on the ground.
As an example, the paper noted that at Whitecliff Farm, where a
total of 20 477 people were allocated stands, "only 50
small houses have been constructed to roof level".
it quoted MDC MP for Harare North, Trudy Stevenson claiming that
there was "virtually no construction progress"
at Hatcliffe Extension where more than 300 families were allocated
stands. She told the paper: "Massive construction
of houses under Operation Garikai is only taking place on television."
exposed the anarchy surrounding Garikai’s implementation
when it reported that ZANU PF supporters "violently evicted
registered traders allocated stalls" at Mbare Msika
market saying the stalls would be "reallocated to ruling
Studio 7’s eight
reports exposed the continued human suffering caused by Murambatsvina,
the clergy’s efforts to assist the victims, and the ongoing
demolitions in Chiredzi and Epworth in contravention of UN calls
for them to be stopped immediately.
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