By Nomalanga Moyo
14 March 2013
An analyst has described as ‘naive’ the hysterical remarks by presidential spokesman George Charamba accusing a foreign embassy of illegally distributing radios.
On Tuesday Charamba told the state media that “soon people will be summoned” to answer questions relating to ‘smuggling’ and distributing radios, in what is being seen by many as a veiled threat to the British Embassy in Zimbabwe.
Charamba said the Foreign Affairs Ministry was exploring “the complicity of this embassy” in subversive activities meant to bring about regime change in Zimbabwe.
He told the Herald: “We are investigating to see whether this was consistent with the provisions of the Vienna Convention. We are also keen to understand the interests of that embassy by bringing that consignment using its diplomatic status.
“We are also investigating the institutions which received those radios for distribution countrywide. We are also trying to establish their registration status. We are also investigating whether they have such mandate within their terms of reference to engage in such work,” Charamba said.
The radios in question are said to be manufactured by British company Lifeline Energy. The gadgets are wind-up and solar-powered and can receive FM, AM and short wave signals.
But political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya dismissed the pronouncements as ill-informed, saying Charamba has no capacity to summon anyone on behalf of Zimbabweans.
Ngwenya said Charamba was wrong to suggest that the embassy in question had committed any crime or abused its diplomatic status in bringing the radio receivers into the country.
“There is nothing criminal about supporting the people of Zimbabwe to their right to information. The problem here is that in the ZANU PF school of thought every gadget and equipment that informs and enlightens is called subversive.
“I have been listening to shortwave radio since I was 13. Charamba’s statements simply demonstrate the naivety of the type of governance that Zimbabweans are subjected to,” Ngwenya added.
The British Embassy in Harare could not be reached for comment Thursday as calls to their press sections were not being answered.
State media reports suggest that ZANU PF fears that the wind-up radios would ensure what they call ‘illegal regime change’ in Zimbabwe during the general elections scheduled for this year.
Ngwenya said regime change is part of any democracy and it is surprising that ZANU PF would be afraid of change considering it also took over from another regime – the Smith regime.