|The Zimbabwe Debate
Zimbabwe Crisis: What Should African Journalists Do?
For some time now the West through its media has focused its attention on Mugabe and Zimbabwe. Aside their giant media houses like the BBC and CNN, Aljazeera have lately joined the bandwagon, running daily documentaries on the impoverishing state of Zimbabwe. They have even been innovative enough by stepping into the world of adverts and clutching such opportunities to further demonize Mugabe and Zimbabwe.
|Who is behind these campaigns?|
There is absolutely no problem with the western media charting such a cause. Such reportage does not only form part of their editorial policies but its foundations. Their motives are clearly defined and it is that which inures to their ultimate benefit and nothing else. What remains significant is that all these giant western media houses currently in this war against Zimbabwe have in no way hidden their interest. Whiles the BBC's motivation is driven by Mugabe's righteous reclaim of white-occupied (not white-owned) farmlands by mostly British, the CNN's is on a solidarity march. The partial manifestations of its imperialist and hidden racial sentiments are also real and cannot be overlooked.
Whiles reason is adequately found in justifying the war on Zimbabwe by Western media, the thinking by some African journalists in this regard is very appalling. They lack understanding; they have no perspective and obviously no direction. They have joined the west in demonizing Mugabe and Zimbabwe. In fact, they even lack history. But this is just what happens when a purpose driven journalism is absent. At the inauguration of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's maiden President, could not have struck much sense in his cautioning statement to journalists across the continent when he said:
“We are in a revolutionary period and we must have a revolutionary morality in journalism and all other walks of life. We cannot be neutral between the oppressor and the oppressed; the corrupter and the victim of corruption; between the exploiter and the exploited; between the betrayer and the betrayed. We do not believe that there are necessarily two sides to every question; we see right and wrong; just and unjust; progressive and reactionary; positive and negative; friend and foe. We are partisan!”
If there was anything called objectivity, then Nkrumah's statement is not far from it. Until journalists come to this effective conclusion, we shall continue to see through the lenses of the West on our own soils, we shall not stop culling African news from foreign media and the retrogressive fight against ourselves shall not seize. The question of finance should not even attempt coming up; where there is a will there is a way. African governments are able to finance all sort of things even war in some parts of the continent. The difference is leadership and their choices thereof.
We must be prepared to go there ourselves and report what the real news is. When the Arabs felt so, Aljazeera was immediately born to accomplish the task. Journalism is not sitting behind a computer conjuring stories or in a studio reading announcements, it goes further. It demands a high level of consciousness that explains the similarities and contradictions in society and the world at large. This way, it portrays and project an overall agenda; and in this case, the African agenda.
Interests of Ghanaian journalists
For a moment lets ask ourselves the interest of those Ghanaian journalists and media Houses who have just joined the dinosaurs in demonizing Mugabe and Zimbabwe; What interest have for instance, Tv3 or Metro TV in telling Ghanaians that Zimbabwe is poor, that the only bread making factory is closing down or has closed down? What problems does such news item solve other than the western imperialist aims it enforces?
In any case, have these media houses gone further to ask what has resulted in Zimbabwe's current predicament? Are they for instance aware that even as the whites left they deliberately destroyed almost all farm machines and have effectively made it impossible for the importation of their replacement? Are these Ghanaian journalists aware of the sanctions currently over the roof of Zimbabwe? Would a rather tacit campaign on their part for the sanctions to be waved not see a Zimbabwe glowing? What about frantic efforts on their part to get African governments to come to Zimbabwe's aid? What is wrong with us?
It is high time journalists of Africa became African journalists. They must have an interest; the African interest! They must begin to understand that, war against any African country is war on the rest of Africa. If the politicians wont, journalist must! A revolutionary morality will mean rising to pick up the broken pieces, providing active support, forming groups and associations and moving to help Zimbabwe stand; if Zimbabwe is dying we do not need Aljazeera, CNN, BBC or the IMF/World Bank to tell us, we must know it ourselves and this could be done through the effective coordination of for instance all state owned media across the continent just if we are poor; but even more effective, by local private journalists or local private media houses.
IMF/ World Bank's Motives
We may be against Mugabe but we can insist that we shall not rise against Zimbabwe, we shall clothe its women, feed its children, uplift its disadvantaged and underprivileged just like Zimbabwe would have done, once the rest of Africa extends a helping hand in her great hour of need. At least, this will make nonsense of the directives of retrogressive institutions as the IMF/World Bank as they stated in no uncertain terms some few months back, that, financial assistance would only come to Zimbabwe on grounds of regime change. What argument? Since when did regime change become an item on the conditionality list for these forces; may be long ago, but now they have become even more confident.
More to the point, by their own reportage, the people of Zimbabwe are suffering; many others are fleeing and some even dying. Thus a financial request only follows that it is going to be used to mitigate these problems. But here we are, the IMF/World Bank is saying that the people of Zimbabwe should die just because of one man. The paradox; this “one man” is asking for help on behalf of the “dying people” of Zimbabwe and the extent to which the IMF/World Bank cares, is the extinction of this man or they perish.
It is important to understand that, the issues are deeper than what we can ever imagine. There is a conspiracy and it can only be unravelled by an African centred journalism. These institutions have never been interested in the good of Africa than its maintenance at subservience. Aside, Africa's selfish, greedy and ignorant leadership over the years, the Breton woods institution comes next as the cause of the scourge in Africa. We are aware of their agents located in almost every government ministry in many African countries. Ghana is no exception.
Mugabe's fingers may not be clean but Zimbabwe's woes are not self inflicted, it is artificial but its consequences are real. The true oppressors are the parents of the countless sanctions on the head of Zimbabwe, those that have brought to the people suffering, and those that have set policies deliberately meant at destabilizing the economy of Zimbabwe and bringing it to its knees. If Africa rises, this economic sabotage will not last and our victory will be established.
The unnatural silence of African governments is what those journalists must attack. What they should be doing is rallying support for the dying people of Zimbabwe, calling on governments across the continent to turn their attention on the land. Little by little, Africa will become for Africans as we start with the donations; the donation of teachers, the donation of food, the donation of funds, of labour, and of machines. The African journalist would have then achieved the revolutionary morality. Africa, Arise!
By Ernesto Yeboah
First Published in ModernGhana.Com
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