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Political Tension Rises in Zimbabwe Over Pro-Mugabe Songs on State Radio & TV

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told the state-run Herald newspaper the jingles have nothing to do with elections but are merely intended to encourage ZANU-PF members to participate in the constitutional revision public outreach process

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Sandra Nyaira

Relations are more tense than usual between Zimbabwe's power-sharing partners - ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai - as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation keeps playing jingles hailing President Robert Mugabe much to the displeasure of the MDC.

Zimbabwe's Cabinet agreed on Tuesday that ZBC should stop playing the extended political songs because they do not reflect the spirit of the unity government established in February 2009 following a traumatic election cycle in 2008. Ministers said the spots asserting Mr. Mugabe remains in charge re-open wounds from that bloody period.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told the state-run Herald newspaper the jingles have nothing to do with elections but are merely intended to encourage ZANU-PF members to participate in the constitutional revision public outreach process now unfolding around the country - in some areas with political intimidation and sporadic violence.

Gumbo said the spots are not jingles but rather songs by the Mbare Chimurenga choir from an album entitled "Nyatsoterera," Shona for "listen carefully." The lyrics of the title song inform listeners that Mr Mugabe and his two vice presidents, Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo, are in charge, not the inclusive government.

Information Secretary George Charamba said the Cabinet decision was not communicated to the state broadcaster because Information Minister Webster Shamu is away and the acting minister could not be reached.

ZBC Chief Executive Happison Muchechetere has declared that the state radio and television network will not stop playing the songs. He invited the MDC to provide its own music for similar airing. Former information minister Jonathan Moyo weighed in threatening legal action if the Cabinet forced the state broadcaster to drop the jingles.

Moyo said those who object to the songs do not share the history of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle.

Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that the jingles saga shows that Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF is not serious about the national unity government.

The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe said the return of ZANU-PF propaganda on all stations of the state broadcaster illustrates the extent to which ZBC is a propaganda tool for the former ruling party.

MMPZ Coordinator Andrew Moyse said the torrent of offensively partisan ads that falsely promote ZANU-PF as the ruling party violates the spirit of the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing.

Sydney Chisi, director of the Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe, said the broadcaster must pull the jingles in order to preserve unity and peace in the country.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation responded to critics by posting three rhetorical questions on its website.

"Should Cabinet be involved in the day-to-day running of the institution? Are revolutionary songs not part of the history of Zimbabwe and why should anyone be unsettled by the songs? In view of public demand for the songs should the national broadcaster not listen to the voice of its viewers and listeners?" the ZBC website asked.

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by: Zvichapera
26.07.2010 08:09
If God is for all the people like what is written in the Bible then it means all will gonna end ,and by that ZANU PF one day mucharidza mhere .Chisingaperi chinoshura. Dzaiva nhungo dzichava mbariro.At this point people can not be blind folded because they know who to vote for.


by: gabriel
26.07.2010 06:39
The fact that cabinet admits that the jingles are objectionable is ample evidence that they should be removed forthwith.


by: Gadzira Chirumhanzu
26.07.2010 06:32
There is nothing wrong with the songs. The album is of praise songs. Any person, organisation has its praise songs, People of the Moyo totem refer to themselves as moyo ndizvo, varozvi,etc; Dynamos football club is referred to as glamor boys, dembare, etc; Highlanders is also referred to as Amahlolanyama, ngenkani, etc. Hence there is nothing wrong for Mbare Choir to sing what it thinks the people of Zimbawe like. No one can answer for Zimbabwean refuges in America. All know why they are there.


by: MUSIKAWANHU
25.07.2010 03:46
Let the Muchecheteres promote partisan songs because they are for the ZANU PF card. Did they get into the office by merrit? No. Are they real qualified proffessionals? No. So what do you expect from them. Zimbabwe is our mother land and not for a party. It is for Zimbabweans and one day change will come. LET THEM PLAY BECAUSE THEY KNOW WHATS COMING. THE SAME WOMEN PLACED THEIR VOTE WHERE? IT WILL BE REPEATED.

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