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MDC and Zanu PF are time wasters

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Increasingly what you find on the streets of villages, towns and cities in Zimbabwe is irritation with the Government of National Unity. Yes we might have stocked shops. Yes the useless Zimbabwean dollar has gone. Yes schools have re-opened albeit in a stop/start fashion.

But the real issues – the issues that will turn Zimbabwe into a democracy continue to go unaddressed by both the MDC and Zanu PF. The MDC don’t have any real power to make fundamental changes in Zimbabwe and Zanu PF have no intention of coming good.

All they can do is talk, and talk and talk. And that’s why people are getting irritated.

I was pleased to see Gerry Jackson of SW Radio Africa take our politicians to task for focusing on the non-essentials like pirate radio stations. As she says, get real guys! And stop wasting time.

But then again talking isn’t hard work and it always comes with a swanky lunch and some fine wine.

Here’s Gerry . . .

A news report on Thursday quoted Welshman Ncube saying that the talks which began on Monday focused on “western sanctions against Zimbabwe, pirate radio stations and government appointments including those of the attorney general and reserve bank governor”. While another report said ZANU PF wants ‘the MDC to rein in its supporters in western capitals running “pirate” radio stations’.

Guys – please – get a grip. We’re not controlled, owned or are even members of the MDC. They can do nothing to have us closed down. Our broadcasts on shortwave and via the internet are completely legal and we want nothing more than a free, peaceful, democratic Zimbabwe. And yes we do believe that Zimbabweans have an absolute right to the information that has been denied them for so many years.

Perhaps I can remind you of the fact that in 2000 I challenged the government’s broadcasting monopoly in the Supreme Court and won the right to set up the first independent radio station, on the basis that freedom of expression was enshrined in Zimbabwe’s constitution. But Robert Mugabe used his presidential powers to have the station shut down after just 6 days, ignoring his country’s own constitution and courts of law.

Get rid of the appalling broadcasting regulations which were introduced in response to this court ruling. Allow myriad broadcasters to apply for a license, register as many as you can. Those that are any good will survive, the bad ones will go the way of all bad media. Get some decent newspapers on the streets, allow as many community radio stations as you can cram onto a waveband.

If you want to get rid of radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe – free the media. Really free it. It really is that simple. Discussion over, now will you PLEASE start talking about the real issues. You have a population that’s desperate, investors ready to throw money at Zimbabwe the minute there is a guaranteed return to the rule of law, respect for property rights, an end to the political intimidation and the massive human rights abuses – and Gono and Tomana really do have to go.

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