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Cablegate: State Media Uses Hate Language Against Opposition

VZCZCXRO5850
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0364 1141449
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231449Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2827
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

UNCLAS HARARE 000364

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV OPRC ZI
SUBJECT: STATE MEDIA USES HATE LANGUAGE AGAINST OPPOSITION


1. SUMMARY: State media used the 28th Anniversary of Zimbabwe's
independence to continue its campaign against the opposition by
broadcasting hate messages labeling the MDC's self-proclaimed
victory in the presidential election "treasonous" and a reversal of
1980's independence. The government-controlled media dismissed the
MDC's strong showing in the elections and accused the opposition of
being a puppet in a British attempt to re-colonize Zimbabwe. Most
of the coverage on Independence Day (April 18) was dominated by
information and messages similar to those offered by ZANU-PF during
the pre-election period, including continued running of ZANU-PF and
Mugabe campaign commercials. The vernacular broadcasts were even
more virulent than the English versions with calls for "war" and
threats of violence and killing. END SUMMARY.

2. On the eve of Independence Day, state radio broadcast an
interview with Bright Matonga, Deputy Minister of Information and
Publicity in which there were marked differences between the English
and vernacular broadcasts. While the interview was 53 minutes in
English, the Shona broadcast was 94 minutes long. Matonga's
interview covered the presidential election results, the MDC's
election court cases, the Lusaka SADC summit, the MDC call for a
national strike and so-called "treasonous" documents purporting to
show UK and U.S. sponsorship of the MDC.

3. In the vernacular version, but not the English version, Matonga
claimed the alleged documents demonstrated the MDC intended to
reverse the land reform program by evacuating black farmers from the
farms 10 hours after assuming power. He said the MDC would give 200
farms to former white farmers, remove war veterans from all
government structures, replace the chief justice, the security
chiefs, and give control of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to the
Germans. His comments were then echoed in the state-daily, The
Herald.

4. State media also used entertainment programming to incite hatred
and violence. While some of the songs aired on state radio merely
paid tribute to the country's liberation war heroes and supported
government policies, some went much further. For example, Man Soul
Jah's "Mr. Government" celebrated the government's land seizures and
also called for the decimation of perceived political sellouts. It
sings (in Shona) "...give me my spear so that I can kill the many
sellouts in my forefathers' country..." The song "Tora Gidi" (Take
the Gun), by the Harare Mambos, encourages people to take up arms
and was aired regularly on television.

5. COMMENT: State media coverage of Independence Day (as well as
ongoing coverage of the elections) should not be seen independently
of the ongoing campaign of violence being perpetrated against MDC
supporters. The coverage ahead of Independence Day appears to have
been designed to encourage supporters of the ruling party and
security forces to deal harshly with supporters of the opposition.
Independence Day coverage is just one clear example of the way the
Mugabe regime continues to use state-controlled media to incite
hatred and violence in its campaign to stay in power. END COMMENT.

DHANANI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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