The dawn of a new era


A NEW, unfamiliar era is dawning in Zimbabwe.
We are going for an election that is brimmed by a plethora of many firsts; an election whose underlying factor is Zimbabwe’s much anticipated return to what one would call ‘normalcy’.
And in that vein, a warm return to the family of nations.
But most significantly, it is the mouth-watering prospect of a ‘clean’ plebiscite that is exciting many across the length and breadth of the globe.
For the country, everything is rightfully glittering.
There too is the gold in it.
There is the golden trophy of who shall govern us from August 2018 to 2023.
This of course coming after years of an abrasive local and foreign policy.
A policy that was wont on serious haggling between contesting parties and their supporters.
The shift from that old way of doing things has been seismic.
It has been thus far a brutal contest of ideas, an exhibition of the best ideas; the best programmes and the best policies.
We shall in times ahead unpack what each of the contesting parties is offering to the electorate.
In the meantime, we are going to be placing our lenses on what the media is and should be doing in order to make this election what it should be like and about.
President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has repeatedly said that he is going to deliver a free, fair and credible election.
The situation on the ground suggests that this is going to be the case.
There are of course, the usual antagonisms; the all too familiar ruptures.
These will be quelled in the fullness of time.
There is time enough to cull the frivolous voices of time, to bury them under the soil whose nourishment will bore the seeds of local, regional and international endorsement of the July 2018 harmonised polls.
Yet even under the surface of the earth, they will continue to yell hoarse, crying foul.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the body tasked with the mandate of superintending the running of elections in the country, was in Kariba last week for a one-on-one interface with a very key stakeholder, the media.
So many issues emerged there at Carribea Bay.
The media has a role in informing the public on electoral processes.
It should report without fear or favour, before, during and after elections.
I must hasten to add the questions: To whom do the media report to during elections?
Whose messages do we carry as the media?
Let me draw an important quote from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, George Charamba.
He said: “Your messaging will be in competition within your own ranks and also the outsider, which immediately begs a relational issue.
What I have found very humiliating about your industry is how you are made to chase stories and claims that come from without in respect of a country which you yourself are not only resident, but do cover; that I have never understood.”
As the media, we should be in a position to tell our story.
We should write about our country like Zimbabweans and convey the message that is in tandem with what is obtaining on the ground.
We should unite the people and not send messages that divide the people.
After all, there is the gold in this Zimbabwe.


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