During the march
to the hotel where Mugabe was protesters held their banners
and posters. Hundreds of New Yorkers saw the protesters.
Some of them shook their heads at the sight of pictures
of the victims of Mugabe. One police officer was openly
moved as she shook her head at the sight of Mugabe's victims.
The protesters showed the world that a determined
people can launch an effective campaign.
A propaganda journalist for the Sunday Mail,
Munyaradzi Huni, stopped to take notes. After they had identified
him, the protesters who had been chanting "Mugabe must
go" now also chanted "Sunday Mail and Munyaradzi
Huni must go."
I decided to engage Huni in a discussion about
the propaganda journalism that he practices. Huni's argument
was that human rights activists are trying to change things
too quickly. He denied that he had not written critical
stories about Mugabe in the face of a dilapidated state
of affairs caused by bad governance in Zimbabwe.
I asked Huni to give me just one example of
a story he wrote that was critical of Mugabe, considering
the very well-documented facts about Mugabe's brutality
to Zimbabweans. He said he had written many stories quoting
police statements, but he could not give just one example.
At my suggestion he promised to send me by email the critical
stories he had written about Mugabe. He said he was going
to send them that night. It is now evening three days later
and I have not received anything from him.
The more he talked the more Huni revealed the
journalistic naivete about issues in Zimbabwe. He claimed
that when he did not write what activists wanted him to
write they labeled him a Mugabe supporter. "Would you
like me to call you an MDC supporter for criticizing Mugabe?"
he asked me. One only needs to see what Huni has written:
pure propaganda masterpiece eulogies for Mugabe. How can
anyone not call him a Mugabe supporter when Huni has totally
ignored Mugabe's blatant misrule?
The fact that Huni was incapable of distinguishing
between stories in praise of the MDC, if ever there were
any, and those highlighting the acts of repression in Zimbabwe
by Mugabe was glaring evidence of how low the standards
of journalism have degenerated among the state media writers.
Huni showed how he and his fellow journalistic
disciples of Mugabe in the state-controlled mass media had
now swallowed hook, line and sinker the view that whatever
problem exists in Zimbabwe must be blamed on anyone but
There is a psychotic culture among these propaganda
journalists that if they publish anything about human rights
violations, the killing of opposition supporters by Mugabe's
thugs and destruction of people's property they will be
labeled supporters of the MDC. And if they publish anything
positive about MDC and the opposition movement in Zimbabwe
they will also equally be labeled MDC supporters. Yet they
do not want to be labeled Mugabe's supporters when the only
journalism they know is that of unmitigated hymn sing in
praise of their Great Leader Kim Il Sung Robert Mugabe.
But it was not only Mugabe's journalistic disciple
who visited the protesters at the UN. Another man who claimed
to work for the local press came to take pictures. We later
learned from our sources that he was in fact a member of
Mugabe's dreaded CIO. Indeed we saw him engaged in a conversation
in Shona with Munyaradzi once they were out of sight.
The collaborative link between Mugabe's CIO
and his disciples in the journalistic community is real
and active. That link includes the police, army and the
militia thugs. Mugabe must have heard from his sources that
there would be an anti- Mugabe demonstration at the UN.
He did not show up. He knew that without the protection
of his militia thugs Mugabe is timid, helpless and a coward.
Huni and his CIO compatriot who came to take
pictures and notes about the demonstration must have seen
how the rule of law is respected outside Zimbabwe. Police
were at the demonstration to maintain order and protect
the demonstrators. Had that protest been held in Harare
the protest would have lasted a few minutes before it was
broken up by Mugabe's ruthless police and militia thugs.
The anti-Mugabe protest movement in the United
States is gaining momentum. With a new no-nonsense assistant
secretary of state for Africa, Mugabe is in for a rough
time in the coming years.
Huni's article in The Herald was a classic
example of the propaganda journalism of the state media
writers. In propaganda journalism one tends to see what
one wants to see in order to please his masters. This is
the way Huni approached the whole story.
Just to set the records straight.
The organizers of the demonstration did not
want to talk to him. They said whatever they said was going
to be distorted by Munyaradzi's brand of propaganda journalism.
I only talked to him out of curiosity about how the mind
of a propaganda journalist functions or malfunctions. It
was the kind of curiosity spectators have of a monkey in
a circus. I did not expect anything serious to come out
of him. Propaganda journalists are very fanatical about
their masters whom they are sworn to protect and defend
at all costs.
The only significant thing to come out of this
encounter with Munyaradzi Huni was he had become a case
study for me about the psychosis of a propaganda journalist.
He helped me confirm theories of how a propaganda journalist
functions or malfunctions.
He called the demonstration a flop. What he
did not know or refused to know was that the UN demonstration
was part of a wider anti-Mugabe struggle that has so far
succeeded in isolating Mugabe. Huni's boss, Mugabe, is increasingly
US assistant secretary of state announced on
the same day at the United Nations that the US was tightening
its sanctions regime against Mugabe and his top officials
in government and ZANUPF. The European Union is also tightening
its sanctions regime against Mugabe.
These were precisely the objectives of the
protest at the United Nations. Yet Huni calls the protest
"a flop widely ignored by ordinary people." Of
course Huni chose not to see all the New Yorkers who actually
stopped by or saw the posters denouncing Mugabe.
Huni was of course not aware the demo did not
only take place outside the United Nations but proceeded
several blocks to the Sheraton Hotel and through the period
the demonstrators were in town hundreds of New Yorkers were
exposed to the demonstrators' message.
In contrast, The Herald and the state media
fanatical defense of Mugabe and ZANUPF has not improved
the situation at home. Neither has it improved the image
of Mugabe abroad. Those international journalists that Huni
pompously claim were only interested in interviewing Mugabe
are exactly the same who are spreading far and wide around
the world the message of the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe
caused by Mugabe! This is why international correspondents
have had a tough time in Zimbabwe!
All pretenses by The Herald and its propaganda
journalists in defense of Mugabe and his ZANUPF is, in fact,
a flop in the face of a deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe.
The Herald has gained notoriety for lies. No amount of sunshine
stories about Mugabe and ZANUPF will ever change or deceive
the world on the true state of affairs in Zimbabwe: