By Wesley Ndebele- Political Analyst
Whatever happened to freedom of expression, is the song that echoes in every Zimbabwean’s mind. This cheap talk that Zimbabwe is a democratic country is rather too bitter to swallow.
A few years ago, one could hardly or even dream of saying something against the government Zanu PF. However things have slightly changed for the better though its still risky to express your opinion. Zanu PF continues to restrict the right to freedom of expression . Critical journalist are harassed and punished severely and so goes for any other Zimbabweans.
Zanu PF has a lot to hide from its people and the outside world. The economy has gone down and life for an ordinary Zimbabwean is tough. Hospitals are without medicine and equipment. A lot of companies have closed down and with all this happening –they want people to be quiet and pretend all is well.
The Zimbabwean journalist who were driven into exile established The Zimbabwean newspaper in an effort to connect with the Zimbabweans in diaspora and freely express the plight of Zimbabweans to the world. However in an effort to stop the freedom of expression, the government added an import duty of 55% on top of the basic 15% and bringing the total import duty to a ridiculous 70%.
Change is needed for the benefit of the country. A complete change from this autocratic iron fist ruling where they control all the media such as radio and television. It was also reported that the Zimbabweans were going on a protest refusing to pay TV licences because all they viewed every day was “unworthy programmes and news ” of Zanu PF adverts. As a result the majority of Zimbabweans now have a satellite dish and enjoy programmes from neighbouring South Africa.
45 Zimbabwean activists were reported to have been charged with treason after they were arrested for attending a lecture entitled Revolt in Egypt and Tunisia. This is purely an over-reaction by the state especially because the participants were exrecising their legitimate right to freedon of expression which the Zanu PF government must guarantee under national and international law.
The police continue to selectively apply the law in favour of the ruling party and this however means that as long as you are an activist or MDC, you will not be listened to. If one tries to challenge the injustices, they will be applying for a death penalty.
Another activist based in Matabeleland by the name Owen Maseko was arrested on March 26 after he displayed an exhibition that portrayed massacres that took place in Matabeleland in the 1980s, allegedly carried out by troops loyal to President Mugabe.
He was charged for violating section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for insulting or undermining the authority of the president. The charges were later altered to section 31 of the same act which deals with the publication of false statements prejudicial to the state.
The Human Rights NGO Forum established that during 2008 alone there were 6 politically-motivated rape cases, 107 murders, 137 abductions and kidnapping,
1913 assault cases, 19 instances of disappearance, 629 cases of internal displacement and 2 532 violations on freedoms of association and expression. These were the reported cases, the tip of the iceberg. Cumulatively, since independence, Mugabe and his cronies surely have a record that would lead them straight to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
The invasion of the farms left a lot of Zanu PF ministers and their associates with farms and equipment. They drive big cars, live in mansions, own businesses and enjoy all the luxuries one can ever think of while the ordinary Zimbabwean cannot afford to get a job or eat a basic meal.The time is coming and it’s not long.
Look at what happened to Saddam, Gaddaffi, Bin Laden!
Zanu PF! Judgement day is coming when MDC shall expose all your scandals and put you where you belong.