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Weekly Media Review 2011-17
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Monday April 25th - Sunday May 1st 2011
May 06, 2011
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media abuse Workers' Day to vilify ZCTU, MDC-T
workers gathered at several venues across the country to commemorate
International Workers' Day last Sunday, their activities received
low-key publicity as the media appeared preoccupied with the MDCT
national congress, held on the same weekend.
media devoted their 12 stories on the occasion to blaming the MDC-T
and its allies for workers' plight, while presenting ZANU
PF as the only party interested in the workers' welfare.
workers as having "snubbed" celebrations organized by
the country's main labour body and a key ally of the MDC-T,
the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU) but provided no information on the activities
of the smaller Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), affiliated
to ZANU PF (ZBC 1 & 2/5, 8pm). In the past, the ZFTU used to
receive widespread favourable publicity in the state media, including
live coverage of its May Day celebrations on national television.
figures were given to support assertions by the government media
that the ZCTU's functions were poorly attended.
In one of the
reports, ZTV (1/5, 8pm) reported Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
as having "surprised" a "small crowd" gathered
at White City Stadium by attributing Zimbabwe's current economic
problems to ZANU PF's indigenization programme. Instead of
providing detail and context of Tsvangirai's speech, the station
reported "analysts" dismissing his remarks as public
posturing meant to please donors.
quoted ZANU PF Senator for Chimanimani, Monica Mutsvangwa, accusing
the ZCTU of "ditching its mandate of representing workers"
in favour of "pursuing (the West's) illegal regime change
The ZTV report
then editorialised: "The ZCTU gave birth to the MDC political
movement that has worked in collaboration with external elements
to destabilize Zimbabwe's economy through the imposition of
illegal sanctions. The ordinary worker in Zimbabwe has suffered
immensely with hundreds of thousands rendered jobless due to illegal
sanctions. This year's May Day marks yet another moment that
reminds Zimbabweans that their livelihoods have been destroyed by
organizations like the ZCTU and the MDC".
ZTV (1/5, 8pm)
also selectively quoted workers "blasting" MDC-T arm
of government for its alleged reluctance to increase civil servants'
salaries and campaign for the removal of Western sanctions, which
they blamed for workers' suffering. The workers "advocated
for the acceleration of the indigenization programme for the empowerment
of the black majority" (ZTV, 1/5, 8pm).
The Sunday Mail
(1/5)'s editorial comment marketed ZANU PF's controversial
indigenization policy as the panacea to workers' woes.
media did not widely report on labour leaders' messages to
workers during the celebrations.
They only found
space in the private media.
media also subordinated the Workers' Day celebrations to the
MDC-T congress, the six stories they carried reported on labour
leaders' calls for pay rises for workers that match the poverty
datum line, noting the "serious salary disparities"
between executives and general employees, and urging both groups
to "share the burden of economic recovery" (Daily News,
reported workers and civil society groups warning against police
brutality during a "well-attended" rally at Gwanzura
Stadium in Harare. They were reported threatening to mobilize Zimbabweans
to engage in Egypt-style uprisings if government continued to suppress
Like the government
media, the private media did not say whether the ZFTU had celebrated
private media reported the police as having attempted to ban some
ZCTU meetings and public marches to commemorate the day (ZimOnline,
the ban was overturned by the High Court following an application
by the ZCTU (SW Radio Africa, 29/4).
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