Establishing reasonable doubt
Whilst I don't see what offence I carry if indeed I was a Mnangagwa supporter or one of his people as he put it. The truth of the matter is, as a citizen of Zimbabwe, I was concerned about the truthfulness of a news report by default the professionality of the person who was responsible for came into question and it all led to Dumisani. It was prudent that I challenge it. My role, which I feel I discharged, was to raise 'reasonable doubt' as to the authenticity of the report. The civil standard of proof, essentially proving that it was more likely than not something occurred in a certain way. After that it is the court, in this case, the court of public opinion that makes up its mind if journalistic standards have been met or not. My role of establishing 'reasonable doubt' I did.
Skeletons in the cupboard
For a Journalist with some 30 odd years' experience, Dumisani Muleya's angry outburst were a dead giveaway. When I challenged him to produce the dockets he referred to in his Zimbabwe independent report, he dithered. You see, allegations of murder, attempted murder, corruption, are very serious, in this instance being alleged against a former vice president. These would ordinarily be carried in a state-owned newspaper, in our case The Herald, The Sunday Mail, Chronicles or Sunday news. The report would ordinarily quote either the police spokeswoman, Amai Charamba or another senior policeman or woman confirming that indeed they were investigating the former vice president. The Herald Newspaper or Sunday Mail were mum on the matter.
Ordinarily private newspapers take the queue from the state newspaper. Here was a case in which the state is carrying investigations of the former vice president and the state newspaper don't get to break the story first. For such serious charges to be carried in a privately-owned newspaper should have raised alarm bells to an right-thinking Zimbabwean, worse still, not a single quote to suggest that the journalists have spoken or have attempted to speak to the police to confirm or deny that indeed there was a 'special unit' to investigate the former vice president. It therefore makes sense that these stories are either manufactured in the newsroom or are coming from another source for propaganda purposes. In this case politicians.
Old wine in new bottles
All the allegations being levelled against former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa are not new. The Majonga case has been discussed in cabinet many times over and many years ago. For the case to suddenly have relevance now is an indicator that all these allegations are politically motivated and are geared at smearing the former vice president. It is now up to the citizen to logically join the dots, work out who would want to tarnish the former vice president and for what purposes. It is easy to join the dots and workout where the stories are coming from. The stories of Emmerson Mnangagwa being a cruel and murderous man have been circulating for many years, but not a single day was he ever charged with the murder of anyone. Besides, if indeed this man was a murderous individual, what business did Mugabe have in keeping a murderous individual for so many years in government. What does that say about him as president. This is old wine in new bottles. We have had these stories before. Repackaging them doesn't make them new stories.
The Hidden hand
A journalist of thirty years' experience, who claims to be a professional for that matter would not throw caution to the wind for chicken change. It would have to be a lucrative exchange in order to have to overlook basic journalistic principles like, upon receiving a story, you pick up the phone and speak to the police and verify its authenticity, also ask yourself why no state journalist is running with the story, after all, this is a big one. A former vice president being investigated for such serious issues is a big thing. It will be all over. It therefore becomes easy to believe that a hidden hand is delivering stories to these boys for publication for a generous fee, otherwise why would they throw caution into the wind if the whole exercise was not buying the whisky.
I don't take kindly to threats or angry rebuttals. They don't make sense. Let's exchange the facts, why would a private owned newspaper be breaking a state instituted investigation report whilst state papers know nothing about it? That Zimbabwe independent report cannot pass the professional bar required in journalism, unless if journalism standards have deteriorated rapidly in the last few years in Zimbabwe. But again, I am also aware that these young men do starve, therefore they are fair game when politicians come knocking on their door. - Handeyi tione
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