Silly season has ripened for the private newspapers.

Silly season has ripened for the private newspapers.
Published: 30 June 2015 (1091 Views)

In 1861, a term silly season was coined in the United Kingdom to describe a midsummer period when parliament and law courts are not sitting. There is nothing much newsworthy that happens during this period. The press is reduced to reporting trivial and stupid stories.

That period is also known in other countries as cucumber time, slow news period, summer news hole, the dead season or the dull season and news drought, among others. The period is typified by the emergence of exaggerated news stories, frivolous entertainment and outlandish publicity stunts.

Could it be silly season already for the Standard newspapers?

The Standard newspaper carried an article which it slyly titled ‘Mujuru to take on Mugabe in 2018.' This statement was attributed to Mutasa and it was corroborated by Gumbo, the only declared officials of the two-man party, the People First. This is not the first time that screamers of this sort appeared in the media houses that have apportioned themselves the responsibilities of being mouthpieces of the People First.

The Daily News carried a story titled similarly on 6 May 2015 and so did Nehanda Radio on the same day. Other headlines on the same, which appeared in the newspapers since the ouster of Dr Mujuru, are as follows: Mujuru to face Mugabe in 2018-The Newsday of 4 June 2015, Mujuru will beat Mugabe in 2018-NewsdzeZimbabwe 29 May 2015, Mujuru to challenge Mugabe in 16 January 2015, Mujuru could be Mugabe's worst nightmare in 2018- News24.

For the umpteen times, Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo have been seeing a saviour in the former Vice-President Dr Joice Mujuru. It is funny that some newspapers still find the duo's hackneyed ranting as newsworthy.

All these headlines came from statements made by either Mutasa or Gumbo. Mujuru herself never confirmed or denied this new task, a mammoth one for that matter, of taking on the revolutionary leader in 2018. Her silence on this matter has left people conjecturing. One school of thought is that her failure to break association with Mutasa's claims or at least rebut them, is a reflection of her readiness to take on President Mugabe in 2018.

It is within Dr Mujuru's democratic rights to participate in the electoral process of this great nation. She has the right to challenge President Mugabe in the 2018 presidential race. However, she must be on her guard against the sycophants who are overrating her popularity.  

The popularity that is ascribed to her by Mutasa and the media is non-existent. Mutasa and Gumbo as well as those who subscribe to their line of thinking, must not be misled by the borrowed popularity that Mujuru enjoyed while she was still the Vice President of this state and government. Borrowed popularity has a sell-by-date and that of Mujuru has since expired. She cannot be sold anymore in the political supermarkets.

The former Vice-President was riding on the popularity of the revolutionary party. She does not have any support base as claimed by Mutasa and Gumbo because the people who supported her belonged to Zanu PF. It is a lesson that every Zanu PF cadre must know, lest they unduly exalt themselves. Political Supporters do not belong to an individual but to the party.

Mujuru risks meeting the same fate that was met by the likes of Simba Makoni, Margret Dongo, Edgar Tekere, Dumiso Dabengwa and Ndabaningi Sithole, among others. She will be better off dying as an ordinary farmer in Beatrice than a leader of the so-called People First. Without Zanu PF, Dr Mujuru is just naked and she is aware of this fact. When she was dismissed from government, she clearly stated that it was a political miscarriage to come out of the revolutionary party. Indeed, it is and no amount of persuasion from Mutasa and Gumbo must hoodwink Mujuru into leading a dead party.

Mujuru enjoyed for over a decade at the helm of the revolutionary party and government despite her incompetence as the Vice-President. Her ineptitude was one of the reasons that prompted her dismissal. She must just accept her fate and be thankful for the unmerited opportunity she was accorded.

Zimbabweans know that the protagonists of the People First will not add any value to Zimbabwe. Mutasa was one of the most inept ministers, only known for misleading the nation that a n'anga could extract diesel from a rock in Chinhoyi. Mujuru herself has skeletons in her closet. She was fingered in high profile corruption that taints her chances of becoming a future political leader even that of a dead party like the People First.

Government recently hinted that Mujuru is not yet off the hook. The magnitude of allegations against her can attract a lengthy sentence if convicted. Probably Mutasa and Gumbo wants to have a leader who will lead them from jail. What is puzzling is that Mutasa and Gumbo do not have the confidence to lead a party they have formed. They know their weaknesses that the electorate knows too. They also want to offload the imminent embarrassment to Mujuru. If this woman is clever enough, she must learn from the ill advice that Mutasa and Gumbo used to feed her with. It is these advices that have taken her where she is today.

In the article, Mutasa said the mobilisation of grassroots was at an advanced stage and that they were doing their work through several platforms. These several platforms give credence to a recent story in which the state media reported that the People First was soliciting for grassroots support through some Non-Governmental Organisations that are funding some projects.

The MDC tried to use the same tactic without success. It is an archaic method of reaching out to the grassroots. It will not work, more so with the NGO act that regulates their operations. All NGOs that dip into politics should do so at their own peril because the law is very clear on that. They must not cry foul when their operational licences are revoked.

Mutasa also wants to sink into political oblivion with others. He attempted to hoodwink the suspended members of Zanu PF into joining his futile project. He said people who were suspended for two or five years were as good as fired, thus, they must join the People First. Only the credulous can buy Mutasa's argument. Those suspended cadres still have life in Zanu PF. Suspension is a disciplinary measure that is applied in any organisation and taking that course shows that the party still loves the suspended. The suspension is just an attempt to redeem the lost.

- Tafara Shumba

Tags: newspapers, Mugabe,

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