By Tichaona Sibanda
17 September 2012
Some journalists from the independent media were not invited to cover the official opening of the US$98 million National Defence College on the outskirts of Harare by Robert Mugabe on Saturday.
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces have always viewed scribes from the independent media with suspicion, accusing them of being pro-MDC formations and anti-Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF.
During his speech at the opening Mugabe dwelt on the issue of the media, by saying the negative publicity the country is facing, coupled with a volatile global political environment, was a warning to Zimbabwe to invest in political consciousness institutions.
He also accused the Western powers of using ‘illegal economic sanctions and deliberate manipulation of media resources as tools against weaker states like Zimbabwe in attempts to reinstate the colonial status quo.
‘We in Zimbabwe have received first-hand experience of the West’s hate-filled tactics, dating back to the year 2000. At the height of the economic crisis in 2008-2009, Zimbabweans temporarily adopted an alien culture of drawing knives against each other as unusual fights between brothers, sisters, uncles, nieces, husbands and wives became a common phenomenon.
‘This explosion of negative forces and the generous sponsorship they received sought to effect regime change through civil disobedience,’ Mugabe said.
However, information in the public domain clearly shows that after losing the first round of the poll to Morgan Tsvangirai in March 2008, Mugabe’s militia, with the aid of the state security apparatus, went on murderous campaign that left over 500 MDC-T supporters dead.
The countrywide campaign of violence and intimidation displaced over half a million and left thousands more maimed. This forced Tsvangirai, five days before the runoff presidential election, to pull out citing the extensive violence against his supporters.
The Defence College was built by the Chinese who will be paid out of diamond revenue.
Not anyone can go to the college. It’s reserved for officers with the rank of colonel or group captain and above in the defence forces, plus their equivalent ranks in other security services like state security, police and prisons.
Senior managers in government ministries and parastatals, and those in the private sector can be invited.
All SADC countries and others that ZANU PF feel are ‘friendly’ will be invited to each course.