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Dissertation

Andrew Chatora

The Role of New Media in Fostering Democracy in Africa`s Dictatorships:
Zimbabwe a case study.

Words: 21, 179

FI NAL SUBMISSI ON
Tutor: Dr Shakuntala Banaj i

Dissertation submitted in part fulfilment of the requi rements of the MA Media, Culture
and Communication Degree of the I nstitute of Education, University of London
Submission date: September 2009

This dissertation may be made available to the general public for borrowing,
photocopying or consultation without prior consent of the author.
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Abstract
This dissertation seeks to explore, understand and critique the significance of new media in
fostering democracy in parts of Africa, especially in repressive regimes such as Zimbabwe
my main focal point. In particular, it looks at the upsurge and proliferation of diverse new
media platforms and how these can empower the populace, as they confront tyranny and
agitate for political reform on the Habermasian public sphere.
In the same vein, the study looks at the ambivalent nature of new media, as platforms such as
the Internet for instance can still be manipulated and abused by the Hegemony to stifle and
undermine the democratic discourse. In this regard, a plethora of counteractive measures
adopted by mainstream and pro-dictatorship forces as they respond to online challenges
posed by new media are also considered. Incidentally, the study also considers the legitimate
role the media should play in both a democracy and authoritarian regime. A close textual
analysis is offered on blogs and the diversity of online news websites which report on the
contested crisis in Zimbabwe. It considers the extent to which these platforms strive to
promote/undermine democracy and the democratic discourse. The polarised views amongst
the news websites as they vie for supremacy of the public sphere is brought to the fore, thus
the study sums up by calling for tolerance and restraint as these are the hallmarks of
democracy.




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Acknowledgments
This project was made possible by the support I received from various people whom I wish to
thank profoundly. The dissertation is in many ways a dedication to Roland K Howard,
(erstwhile Head of English and Media at Bicester Community College (BCC) 2002 2004.)
who believed in me and gave me a footing in the English educational sector. I would also like
to express my gratitude to Cynthia Bartlett (Headteacher, BCC ) for allowing me time off to
attend lectures and seminars),Mairi Blackings, Yvonne Mace, Naomi Wheeler, Diane
Wilson. WilI Mbanga. Patrick Masiyakurima Mushoma`. Jo Waddams and my year 11 and
13 Media class for 2008/9 at BCC. Special mention goes to Adda Twigg, Shannon Thornett,
Ben Faulkner, and Jade Godin for their inspiration. To Dr Watson you are simply the best.
To my daughter Avril, I apologise unreservedly for you constantly bore the brunt of my
petulance especially when I was working on the project with looming deadlines. Nonetheless,
I believe the project will be an inspiration to both you and Ethyn, John. your little brother` to
strive for excellence in later life. My parents were positive role models and I wish to thank
them at this juncture. Much more poignantly, my late father: John Chatora. Many thanks; I
wouldn`t be where I am today. You taught me the work ethic and I hope this legacy to
perpetuate with my own children.
Above all, my accolades would be incomplete without mentioning one whose contribution
was sublime. Thanks to Shakuntala Banaii my Supervisor the quintessential luminary`. Your
constructive criticism and support made a vital contribution. Accept my sincere gratitude.
Last but not least, to the people of Zimbabwe: my fellow citizens, I salute you for your
inspiring resilience.

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Contents
Abstract.........................................................................................................................2
Acknowledgments.........................................................................................................3
Chapter 1 Introduction...............................................................................................6
Chapter 2Press Freedom and Democracy in Zimbabwe: A Review of the Literature.17
2.1 Laws Restricting Media Freedom...............................................................22
2.2 Impact of closure of The Daily News..........................................................24
2.3 The Internet and Potentials for Democracy: A Review of International
Perspectives......................................................................................................25
Chapter 3 Research Methodology
3.1 Research Approaches..................................................................................33
3.2 Ethical Challenges........................................................................................34
3.3 Case Study Approach...................................................................................34
3.4 Critical Discourse Analysis..........................................................................35
3.5 Previews Sample Case Studies: Mugabe and Hate Speech.......................37
3.6 President`s Fighting Talk..............................................................................38
3.7 Zimbabwe: The Public Media and Chomsky`s Propaganda Model.............40
3.8 Language as Power Discourse......................................................................42
Chapter 4 Historical Case Study: Zimbabwe - Politics and Media
4.1 Repression and closure of Democratic Space..............................................44
4.2 Blogging Phenomenon: Case Studies..........................................................45
4.3 The Case of new media and German Company: Giesecke & Devrient.......47
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4.4 The Case of Jura JSP & Software License.....................................................51
4.5 Kubatana Blog................................................................................................52
4.6 Hypocrites: Beware The Curse of Power, Mr Minister A Case study of
Democrats` in Power....................................................................................53
4.7 New media and The Public Sphere................................................................56
Chapter 5 New media Case Study: Online News Websites
5.1 An Emerging Counter Phenomenon.................................................................58
5.2 Zimdaily Website: Fair Deal Campaign...........................................................60
5.3 Support Hong Kong Legislator: Emily Lau WaiKing to get Bona Deported!.63
5.4 Assault on Democracy`: Morgan Tsvangirai`s Assault A Case Study..........65
5.5 Coverage of 2008 Presidential Elections: Diversity of Opinion or Polarised
Viewpoints?........................................................................................................68
5.6 New media: Constant Critique, Even of the Critics............................................69
5.7 The Fourth Estate & the Public Sphere...............................................................72
5.8 SW Radio Africa Texting to Beat Zimbabwe`s Censors..................................74
5.9 Dictatorship Dealing with Online Challenges...................................................74
Chapter 6 Conclusion..........................................................................................................78
Bibliography..........................................................................................................83
Appendices............................................................................................................91

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The media should be allowed to fulfil its mandate of
the Fourth Estate. The guardians of democracv.
defenders of the public interest.
- Mick Underwood, (2004)

Chapter 1 - I ntroduction
1.1 Research Context
My study seeks to describe and understand critically the role played by new media in
fostering democracy in parts of Africa, especially in countries which are currently ruled by
dictatorships, with Zimbabwe being the main focal point. Among other new media platforms,
I will consider: blogs, mobile phone technologies and online news websites. The internet and
mobile phones as digital technologies however, have different affordances, particularly the
world wide web which allows different platforms such as blogs, wikis websites and social
networks. More specifically, I seek to address the following related questions:
How have new media actors sought to promote democracy and empower the populace
at large, and with what effect?
Do media platIorms Ioster democracy simply because they oIIer space Ior alternative
voices` to communicate with each other in repressive regimes such as AIrica`s
dictatorships?
The ambivalent possibilities of new media will also be considered, following scholars such as
Sarah Oates who have questioned whether the internet can be iustiIiably termed a beacon Ior
democracy or tool Ior oppression` (Oates. 2003: 1). This will Iorm the basis Ior my third and
more general research questions:
How are mainstream and pro-dictatorship forces responding to online challenges and
how are they utilising both older and new media to further their ideological ends?
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These issues will come under searching examination in this dissertation. With this constant
struggle/clash of discourses come attendant issues: for instance, the role and types of political
rhetoric from the aforementioned groups; and I argue that it is worthwhile taking into account
gaps between rhetoric and reality even in strongly egalitarian or pro-democratic discourses
online. It will be equally important to consider the role of older media both in historical
moments and countries where democracy appears to be under siege. How should new media
actors respond to the actions of mainstream older media actors, especially to aid the populace
and the democratic discourse?
The discussion in this dissertation is necessitated by legal and political developments in
Zimbabwe which have tended to suppress the Independent media, both print and electronic.
In a country where the independent media is virtually outlawed
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, I will examine the claim that
new media platforms enabled by Internet-related technologies ie, Blogging, mobile phone
alerts and online news websites for instance, have and continue to play a pivotal role in
fanning and nurturing democracy, highlighting the excesses of the Mugabe government and
its wilIul inIringement oI its citizenry`s human rights.
2

The impact of new media on democratic discourse is an area offering huge research
possibilities. Writing about the use of new media as a vehicle for political expression in other
AIrican countries such as Kenya and Zambia. Mudhai maintains: the impact oI New Media
Technologies such as the internet, e mail and cell phones have attracted enormous research
attention starting in the mid 1990s` (Mudhai. 2004: 313-335). Mudhai writes extensively

1
There has been an authoritarian and repressive environment in Zimbabwe since 2000. The government has
continuously enacted laws that appear to grossly curtail basic rights to freedom of expression, and assembly.
Examples include the Broadcasting Services Act (2001). Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) (2002), Public Order and Security Act (POSA) (2001), Interceptions of Electronic Communications
Act (2007). These laws and some extrajudicial tactics used by the government have muzzled the media and
constrained civil society`s political activism ... (Moyo. L. 2008: 4). These repressive and draconian legislations
will be highlighted in subsequent chapters of this study.
2
For Iull details on Mugabe and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. see Dr Last Moyo`s: Repression,
Propaganda and Digital Resistance: New media and Democracy in Zimbabwe (2008)
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about the input of new media in influencing especially the conduct of democratic elections in
Africa. I will however, mainly seek to critically evaluate the role new media has played and
continues to play in promoting good governance and accountable democratic practices
especially in Totalitarian regimes with a particular emphasis on Zimbabwe.
In seeking to address my research questions. there is a need to brieIly look at AIrica`s history
in order to Iully understand where we are today. perhaps to ascertain where we went wrong.
where the rains began to beat us`. as a prerequisite to knowing where to begin to dry
ourselves`. as Chinua Achebe, renowned Nigerian author would put it.
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1.2 Zimbabwe: History and Politics
Zimbabwe attained independence from its colonisers, Britain, in 1980. Since then, ZANU PF
has been the main political party at the helm of politics. Zimbabwe has been under the
hegemony oI one political party Ior over two decades. The ruling ZANU PF party had 20
years of neither uninterrupted rule nor serious challenge to its hold on power until 2000. The
formation of a worker based political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in
1999, changed the political landscape as the ruling party faced a real threat to its hold on
power` (Chakaodza. 2003: 1). The Iormation oI the MDC. coupled with economic problems.
marked the beginning of what is now referred to as the Zimbabwe crisis, characterised by a
society divided politically between rural and urban, poor and rich, rival political parties and
deepening economic problems (Kaulemu, 2004: 213).
Zimbabwe is a state under siege from what Raftopolous (2003: 217) calls: state orchestrated
violence and policies oI exclusion designed to preserve the political power oI the ruling elite`.

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. Chinua Achebe: famous Nigerian author considered the colossus of African Literature coined the famous
phrase where the rains began to beat us` in attempting to explain the impact of colonialism on the African
psyche. The phrase is quoted widely in this respect. For Iull details. see Achebe`s collection oI essays: Morning
Yet On Creation Day, (1975).
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This violence has Iound expression in a racial discourse which started with white Iarmers
and was extended to include farm workers and urban workers without 'totems¨ oI proper
Zimbabwean identity` (RaItopolous 2003:217).
Having lost a Constitutional referendum in 2000 and 57 seats in the 2000 Parliamentary
elections, the Zimbabwe government has sought to maintain political support by articulating
what it calls a nationalist` agenda (RaItopolous. 2003:217). The nationalism that the ruling
elite holds is based on the belief that political and the national unit should be congruent and
that the nation state be identified through one political culture. The ideology of nationalism in
Zimbabwe is rooted in the war of liberation of the 1970s waged by the now ruling party,
ZANU PF and PF ZAPU. The current nationalism being pushed by the ruling elite while
claiming its roots to the agenda of the Liberation Struggle, is however, a construction and
invented permanency (Raftopolous 2003:217).
In concurrence with RaItopolous. I argue: it`s a hegemonic construction. meant to ensure the
continued stay of an incumbent government in power, especially the multitude of post
independence African governments which came to power as the aftermath of these long
fought liberation struggles. For Zimbabwe, with its hold on power threatened, the
establishment under Mugabe has increasingly resorted to violent repression and closure of
democratic space.
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Inevitably. especially privately owned media have become a sworn
enemy oI the state` and an easy target Ior harassment and vindictive retribution. Persecution
of the Media, Journalists, Civil society and Human Rights activists, and democratic forces
has become the norm, and this has seen an escalation of gross human rights abuses and the
democratic discourse being undermined. Amnesty International, The Media Institute of
Southern Africa (MISA), and the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

4
.See Dr Last Moyo`s article cited in Iootnote 2 previously for full details.
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have been on record in terms of characterising Zimbabwe as an outpost of tyranny and thus a
highly unsafe place to practice and work as a Journalist.
Africa has a modern history of failed democracies, with a few notable but complex success
stories in Botswana and South Africa. The attainment of independence by most African
nations from the 1960s onwards saw the proliferation of one party states and dictatorships
and in some cases, as in Nigeria, rule by military juntas. These dictatorships have perpetuated
their own rule right up to the contemporary era. Where there have been attempts to establish
multiparty democracy, it has been a piecemeal approach, which has in most instances seen
the re-establishment of de facto one party states, Malawi under the late Hastings Kamuzu
Banda. Uganda under the inIamous reign oI selI proclaimed Emperor and Conqueror oI the
British Empire` Idi Amin Dada. and Libya under long-time despot, Muammar Gaddafi, are
notable examples.
Writing on an online news website, Mutumwa Mawere, political commentator on Zimbabwe
questions:
Why is it that the former champions of freedom and enlightenment end up as
instruments of despotism and darkness in Africa? What is it about African institutions
that make democracy a universally expensive project in Africa?
(http://www.newzimbabwe.com June 2009)
I submit, the current trend in Africa: political instability, endless civil wars, dictatorships
which continue to subvert elections and people`s democratic choices can be traced way back
to the set up of Colonialism as an ideology. There is a close link between Colonialism and
how Post Independence African leaders have sought to manipulate the colonial ideology as
an expedient scapegoat to perpetuate their hegemony indefinitely. Leaders such as Mugabe in
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Zimbabwe have taken to grandstanding on the world stage projecting themselves as Anti-
colonial icons in a bid to remain in office; way after the democratic discourse has dislodged
them Irom the centre oI politics. AIrican leaders` obsession with holding on to power ties in
quite well with their fractious relationship with the media and civic society.
An interesting paradox is, in most instances the attainment of independence has witnessed
African leaders perpetuating the same anti-press freedom and undemocratic pieces of
legislations they inherited from their colonial predecessors.
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The birth of neo-colonialism
unIolds. Frantz Fanon`s post-colonial ideas offer useful insights on this contentious terrain.
Working in the 1950s and 1960s as a Psychiatrist in Algeria during its struggles for
independence, Fanon was well placed to study the effects of colonialism on the minds of the
colonised (Probert and Graham, 2008: 231). According to Fanon, then, colonialism is so
thoroughly internalised in the colonial mind that post-colonial rule simply mimics the
operations of the coloniser. In this case, the colonised subject follows the oppressive lead of
his or her former rulers, often expressing control through violence and force. Mugabe once
famously boasted that in addition to his seven academic degrees. he also possessed many
degrees in violence`
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. In Fanon`s view. escaping this predicament required a new post-
colonial identity that would find expression through the development of positive
representations in cultural practices, such as literature, drama and film/media (Probert and
Graham, 2008:231).

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. Quite paradoxically, Mugabe has retained some colonial pieces of legislations, some which were used against
him in his heydays as a Nationalist, eg the infamous Law and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA) used widely by
the Ian Smith regime to detain African Nationalist leaders during the colonial era. Elsewhere, Dumisani Moyo
(2004:26) argues: Despite its notoriety as an undemocratic piece of legislation, LOMA has been invoked from
times to time to prosecute political activists, demonstrators and the media. Its successor legislation, the Public
Order and Security Act, (POSA) 2002 has been widely perceived as equally draconian.
6
. We have degrees in violence (2000) Mugabe`s election rally speech widely quoted to substantiate his
penchant for violence as a coercive political tool. See: http://www.timesonline.co.uk Ior excerpts oI Mugabe`s
revolutionary` rhetoric/speeches. Excerpts are also quoted in Chapter 3. sub-section 3.6 of this study:
President`s Fighting Talk.
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1.3 Zimbabwe`s Media Landscape
Zimbabwe has a small media industry dominated by the state media and a few privately
owned media organisations. Zimbabwe inherited a monopolistic media industry in which the
government of the day not only owns the only broadcasting station but the biggest newspaper
publishing company. (http://www.misazim.co.zw June 2009). The media is used by the
government to promote government policies, and the private media sees its role as watching
on the government, exposing corruption and more importantly exposing human rights
violations.
News coverage in Zimbabwe is therefore characterised by a clear divide between the state
owned and private media (Chakaodza, 2003: 1). For this reason, the Zimbabwe government
sees the private media as rivals who have a political agenda. The government has put the
media under direct control through regulations requiring media houses to be registered and
Journalists licensed. Four newspapers were closed since 2003 for failing to meet registration
requirements and tens of Journalists arrested for violating these laws.
(http://www.misazim.co.zw June 2009).
This is the background scenario within which online news websites and activists have sprung
up, harnessing the democratic potential of the internet and related phenomena to champion
democracy and the democratic discourse. The extent to which new media abets/or impinges
democracy is the brief of this thesis.



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1.4 Theoretical Framewor k
It is envisaged that this study will attempt to provide useful insights into how new media
promotes/hinders democracy in authoritarian regimes, especially in Africa. The investigative
approach used hopes to provide a basis for raising critical questions for further research on
the potentials of the internet for democratic practice and governance. This study will be
inIormed by various theories: Antonio Gramsci`s concept oI hegemony`. by Frantz Fanon`s
ideas on postcolonial societies, by a critical theory approach as espoused by Stuart Hall and
the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies and by the Habermasian concept oI a rational
public sphere` (1962/1989). The complex interplay oI these ideas oIIer a Iramework within
which despotic regimes may be understood` especially in their bid to entrench their power
ad inIinitum`. thus undermining all democratic discourse. Equally they oIIer a Iramework
which allows an understanding of the ways in which media both old and new can be used
to challenge such regimes or to support and shore up their power.
Cultural theorist Jurgen Habermas`s theory oI the public sphere continues to inspire thinking
about the relationship between the media and democracy in many ways (Sibanda, 2006: 2).
The public sphere refers to a physical agora in which political participation is enacted through
debate. In this space, private individuals congregate to form a public body where matters of
common interest are deliberated in an unrestricted Iashion` (Habermas. 1974:49-55).
Habermas stressed that the viability of the public sphere rests on the public`s active use oI its
reason. arguing that it is only through rational-critical` debate that public opinion on matters
of interest was generated, which in turn shaped the policies of the state (Habermas,1989:37).
As an arena of discursive interaction, the public sphere is ideally visualised as being separate
from both the state and the market since it is a site for the production and circulation of
discourses that may be critical of both these realms (Fraser, 1992:109-142).
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Because the scale and some of the political rules of modern society does not allow more
than a small number of citizens to be present in the same physical space, the mass media have
today arguably become the chief institutions of the public sphere (Dahlgren 1995: 2). This is
where I will suggest that new media may be seen to be filling a void or at least a need.
Turning to the situation currently obtaining in Zimbabwe, on the one hand there is the
hegemonic group. ZANU PF the ruling` party (though now without a maiority in Parliament,
following the watershed March 2008 Parliamentary and Presidential elections), constantly
clashing with the forces of democracy as represented through members of the populace, ie:
e-citizens, e-activists, civic and human rights activists. In collusion with other arms of
government such as state machinery, ZANU PF, a pure political actor, can be seen to have
used its grip on the supposedly public media to further its agenda, to remain in power
indefinitely. Meanwhile the democratic forces, driven out of the country by harsh media laws
and a repressive regime have resorted to enlisting the various alternative media platforms as
tools in what they term their fight against tyranny. As Dumisani Moyo observes,
Zimbabwe`s restricted democratic space has spawned a multiplicity of alternative public
spheres that enable groups and individuals to continue to participate and engage in the wider
debate on the mutating crisis gripping the country since the turn oI the century` (Moyo. 2006:
81).
Another linked perspective presents a view of the world shaped by the economically and
politically powerful. From this perspective, the media are not mirrors of society but construct
representations which serve the interests oI the powerIul by constructing a reality` that is
shared by the rest of the world as commonsensical, given and inevitable (McQuail, 1994:40-
41). This is reminiscent oI Gramsci`s description oI hegemony. especially when he talks oI
the hegemony gaining the consent of the populace as it seeks to exercise its influence over
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them. Inescapable similarities will be noted between this description and ZANU PF`s modus
operandi, especially how it relates to its citizenry in Zimbabwe.
In tandem with such a critical theory approach, I will strive to show that the media as an
ideological tool has the power to select what to represent as reality and what to exclude.
Through its eIIective hold on the public media in Zimbabwe. ZANU PF`s media empire
seeks to do this. churning nationalistic` propaganda in support oI the establishment, turning a
blind eye to undemocratic governance and human rights abuses. New media has largely
played a deIlective role. countering state media`s brazen partisanship.
Inclusion and exclusion of events in media work is done within the confines and framework
of advancing a particular set of ideas and beliefs. Ideology is therefore at the centre of media
work as the manuIacture oI cultural products are central to domination` (Bennet. 1982:48).
Noam Chomsky`s propaganda model which terms this the manuIacture oI consent` oIIers
useful insights although it can also be questioned and interrogated for its inability to deal with
audience`s and common people`s agency and active reading` oI ideology in the media.
The key interest of critical theory is which particular meanings are produced by the media,
for whom, under what conditions and for what purpose. Thus, fort instance, in representing
conflict situations, the media are inclined to signify events in a particular way that suits the
dominant or contesting ideology. This is so because, the media may be seen in some sense as
merely platforms for the enactment of certain kinds of social power, used by the dominant
and contesting ideologies to perpetuate ideas and beliefs as ideal and/or commonsensical. The
power to represent is, therefore, an exercise of ideological power (Hall, 1982:69). Critical
cultural theorists acknowledge that meaning making is an arena of struggle, as counter-
hegemonic discourses also endeavour to give their own representations of events (Mukundu,
2006:8).
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1.5 Research Methodology
Through a combination of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of blogs, online news websites,
and interviews with Editors and contributors to online news sites with a bearing on
Zimbabwe, I aim to establish their input in aiding or inhibiting the democratic discourse and
practices in the country. I propose to do a close textual analysis of similar themed news
articles on new media platIorms and to evaluate how they are treated in both independent`
online news sites and pro-establishment media/sites. CDA is Iundamentally concerned with
analysing opaque as well as transparent structural relationships of dominance, discrimination,
power and control as maniIested in language` (Wodak. 2001: 2). Across the divide. especially
in all post-structuralist approaches, ideology, power, hierarchy, history and the context
underpin the analysis of textual material (Moyo, 2008: 2). The diversity of my research
methodologies will be particularly relevant in addressing my three key research questions.
Interviews with stakeholders in the production of news on online sites, for instance, will be
especially valuable in shedding light on the extent to which new media can be empowering to
the populace in their quest for democracy. On the other hand, close textual analysis will
throw up useful insights about the complexity and contradictions of new media platforms in
enhancing the democratic discourse. I do not seek to provide a simplistic approach by
prescribing spurious theories on the certainty and inherent affordances of new media in
nurturing democracy. The brief of my investigative study is limited to providing a better
understanding and a basis for raising critical questions for further research on the role played
by new media in fostering democracy in totalitarian regimes.




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Chapter 2
Press Freedom and Democracy in Zimbabwe: A Review of the Literature
Press freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe is a highly contested terrain especially in light of
the current despotic regime in Harare and the unfolding political events on the ground. This is
an area which has attracted huge research interest since the inception of what has come to be
termed. the Zimbabwe crisis.` in the late 1990s. with numerous writers and researchers
advancing multiple viewpoints. This chapter adopts a tripartite approach in relation to the
topic under study, ie: revisit the political situation of Zimbabwe in terms of what has already
been written about press freedom and democracy. An international literature review on the
potentials of the internet for democracy will be carried out before refocusing the discussion
back on Zimbabwe/the African context as a whole in view of current literature on the input of
the internet and new mobile technologies in the struggle against undemocratic governance.
This will seek to address one of my primary research questions: establishing the role played
by new media in fostering democracy in Authoritarian regimes. My brief is to expand and go
beyond current scholarship on this contentious area.
It is arguably diIIicult to counter the view that Zimbabwe`s media landscape is dominated by
Government or state owned media whose brief is to entrench and perpetuate government and
ruling party ideology and hegemony. There are two state controlled dailies, The Herald,
published in the capital Harare, and its sister paper, The Chronicle published in the second
largest city, Bulawayo` (Moyo. 2005: 111).
Over the years, there has been a peculiar type of journalism in Zimbabwe that avoided
confronting those in power. The two dailies were co-opted into the state`s nation-
building proiect` which necessitated developmental iournalism.` To government
officials, this developmental Journalism has been interpreted to mean that the press is
18
an ally of the state in the nation-building project. As such, the papers were not
expected to criticise the government but to celebrate the exploits of the head of state
and his ministers. By so doing, the government narrowed the definition of journalism
and accorded itself the role of determining what was in the public interest. These
papers have thus deteriorated into government propaganda mouthpieces, loosing
credibility in the process (Moyo, 2005: 112).
It is because of the heights of its obsequious propaganda that The Herald is usually
dismissed in diverse quarters within the Zimbabwean community as. The Pravda.` a crude
reference to the former Soviet Communist Party mouthpiece. To those in Western
democracies, now used to a somewhat critical and independent press that is more prone to
poke fun at politicians than to eulogise them, this might seem strange. Yet as Moyo notes, in
Zimbabwe current media policies can be seen to have historical roots:
This web of government control of the flow of information extends to broadcasting,
which was inherited as a monopoly from the colonial era. While in name a public
broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, (ZBC) has served essentially as a
propaganda mouthpiece for the government of the day since colonialism. The effect of
state dominance in the media has been the narrowing of the public sphere and hence
an impoverishment of democracy (Moyo, 2005: 112).
There exists a small but vibrant independent` press in Zimbabwe which includes The
Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard, and The Financial Gazette. These are mainly weekly
newspapers. and have been the most outspoken critics oI the Mugabe government. exposing
its excesses and providing incisive political commentary. Their major limitation however, has
been that these are elite papers in the sense that their target readership is mainly the urban
middle classes who have some disposable income (Moyo, 2005: 112). This is the background
19
against which The Daily News, the fiercest ever private daily newspaper came into being in
March 1999. The Daily News filled a void providing a popular newspaper that was
affordable to the majority of the working population. In a climate where the mainstream daily
newspapers had lost credibility, the arrival of this alternative voice was quite welcome
(Moyo, 2005:112).
It has been suggested that in countries where opposition political parties are weak or non-
existent owing to state repression. the independent` press can occupy that role oI a political
opposition (Ungar 1996, Ronning 1998, Hyden and Okigbo 2002)
7
.
In Zimbabwe. the independent press` have played this role. Iirst by strongly opposing
the one-party state during the late 80s and early 90s, and secondly, by acting as the
voice oI the voiceless` throughout the 90s. The Daily News came at a time when
opposition forces were in disarray, despite growing agitation for reform from the
grassroots. Rising inflation, rampant corruption, among other things created a
groundswell of a frustrated mass with no centre to coordinate it. Thus it can be argued
that in many ways The Daily News assumed the role of coordinating those disparate
voices. The tacit role of an opposition press rather than a mere alternative to the state
controlled media became apparent right Irom the beginning` (Moyo. 2005: 113).
Moyo`s insightIul arguments point to two oI the research questions posed in chapter 1: How
has New media sought to promote democracy and empower the populace and with what
effect? Does it foster democracy simply because it is the alternative voice, representing
marginalised voices? To avoid reaching premature conclusions, it is imperative to fully
appreciate the impact of The Daily News on both the Zimbabwean media and the country`s
political landscape. Only then can, informed judgements be drawn.

7
Cited in Moyo, D, (2005:112). The independent` press and the Iight Ior democracy in Zimbabwe: A critical
analysis of the banned Daily News. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture.
20
Within months of its establishment, The Daily News became the most strident critic of
the Mugabe government, exposing corruption and holding the government
accountable to its actions. Its fearless criticism of government corruption and political
intolerance gave hope to many in a country where a culture of silence had become
dominant. Subsequently, its print-run shot up from an initial 60,000 to 120,000,
within a few months, surpassing the dominant state controlled The Herald, whose
circulation stood at 90 000 (ZAMPS, 2002).
8

In terms of nurturing press freedom and democratic discourse, The Daily News played a
significant role. Had it not been for the input of The Daily News, the new political party on
the scene, MDC, would not have made the significant strides they did, especially garnering
fifty seven Parliamentary seats in the watershed 2000 Parliamentary elections. Such a win
eIIectively. challenged ZANU PF`s two thirds maiority in Parliament.
Geoffrey Nyarota is considered the doyen of Zimbabwean journalism. A fiery and
courageous investigative journalist, he was The Dailv News editor-in-chief. A brief history
about Nyarota is insightIul here. Nyarota used to work Ior one oI the state`s Ilagship daily.
The Chronicle newspaper and during his tenure as editor there in the 1980s ran a massive
scoop which brought to the fore a scandal which exposed government corruption and
nepotism. The scandal which was later dubbed Willowgate` saw cabinet ministers resigning
in disgrace over the sleaze.
9
In effect, cabinet ministers had bought cars at a leading car
manufacturer, Willowvale Motor Industries in Harare at very cheap prices using their clout
and position only to resell them at inflated prices making huge profits in the process. At least

8
. ZAMPS stands for: The Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey, an organisation whose remit is to carry out
readership and consumer research. The research adopts a quantitative approach intended to indicate the numbers
of consumers accessing various media products (and how) for the benefit of advertisers.
9
.The Willowgate Scandal was a major scandal which rocked Mugabe`s government in the early 1980s. and
implicated cabinet ministers in a profiteering car selling racket. Such was the depths of the scandal that one
cabinet minister, the late Maurice Nyagumbo committed suicide in shame. Exposing the scandal also cost
Nyarota his Editorship. For Iull details oI the scandal and its ramiIications see: GeoIIrey Nyarota`s: Against the
Grain Memoirs of a Zimbabwean Newsman
21
one cabinet minister committed suicide over the scandal and another was spared serving a jail
sentence by a Presidential pardon from Mugabe.
The Willowgate scandal shook the Mugabe government to its core, moreso coming so soon
after Independence when the new Black government sought to project itself both as Socialist
and squeaky clean.` The establishment never Iorgave Nyarota Ior making public its
wrongdoing, and he lost his Editorship over the scandal, being promoted` to work at the
ZIMPAPERS Head Office in Harare, where he later resigned in deep frustration.
Such background information about Nyarota sheds light on how the Mugabe government was
to treat him vindictively as Editor-in-Chief of the only successful and largest circulating
private daily.
|The Daily News] broke government monopoly in social and political commentary. It
stimulated nationwide debate on constitutional reform, and greatly influenced the
defeat of the state-sponsored draft constitution in the 2000 referendum. During the
2000 Parliamentary and 2002 Presidential elections, it exposed state-sponsored
violence and other Iorms oI abuse oI power. including allegations oI electoral Iraud`
(Moyo, 2005: 114).
The critical thrust of The Daily News earned the wrath of the ZANU PF government, and
government oIIicials who in most instances dismissed it as the opposition` press. enemies oI
state.` saboteurs.` unpatriotic agents oI Imperialism.` among other derogatory tags. It is
worth drawing attention to how language as a medium becomes a form of power discourse at
the disposal of the hegemony, to be manipulated to serve their ends. As Chris Barker argues,
discourse does not exist in an endless deIerral but is regulated by power which governs not
only what can be said under determinate social...conditions, but who can speak, when and
where` (Barker. 2001: 12).
22
When the hegemony starts name-calling, attaching insulting derogatory labels to its citizens
as discussed above. this creates binary oppositions oI us` and them` within a nation and a
citizenry. Dr Last Moyo argues. the prevalence oI the binary oppositions normally evident in
the public media in Zimbabwe, shows how it recasts the national public debate about the
crisis in Zimbabwe in a segregatory way to include and exclude certain groups, malign and
praise other groups, in ways that render citizens as either in-groups or out-groups to
nationhood. On the other hand, insiders to the myth of nationhood are described as
comrades`. the people`. revolutionaries`. patriots`. peace loving Zimbabweans.` while on
the other hand outsiders are vilified for their different political opinions through epithets such
as sell outs.` anti-revolutionaries.` enemies Irom within.` detractors`. puppets` and
thieves` (Moyo. 2008: 9).
The Daily News fell under such a fate where it was constantly at the receiving end of ZANU
PF`s derogatory name-calling. A well-orchestrated, systematic campaign of harassment, and
intimidation was instigated against the newspaper by the ZANU PF hegemony.
The appointment of Jonathan Moyo, a former Political Science Professor, as new Minister of
Information in 2000 further compounded the misfortunes of The Daily News. The new
minister launched a sustained attack on the paper, issuing threats and suing the paper from all
directions. During its lifetime, the newspaper was also the target of two bombing attacks,
which had a crippling effect on its operation (BBC Africa News, cited in Waldahl 2004:137).

2.1 Laws Restricting Media Freedom
In Post-independence Africa, politicians have had a willing partner in the Judiciary system in
subverting the democratic process, and Zimbabwe is no exception to this trend. Under
23
Jonathan Moyo as Information minister, three draconian pieces of legislation meant to curtail
media freedom and plurality were enacted. These were the often misnamed, Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), 2002, Public Order and Security Act
(POSA), 2002 and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) of 2001. It is fair to argue that the
promulgation of these pieces of legislation sealed the fate of The Daily News, especially in
the case oI AIPPA. Under this law. all media houses and iournalists had to be registered and
accredited with the MIC, a government appointed Commission. The government-appointed
commission could exercise its discretion to decide who could work as a journalist in
Zimbabwe. As a result of this law, several foreign correspondents, including those reporting
for CNN and BBC were expelled from the country. AIPPA was thus a legal instrument
created in order to control the private press in general, and not, as suggested by its misleading
name. to provide access to inIormation held by public authorities` (Moyo. 2005:120).
The foregoing is the background context within which The Daily News was operating. 12
September, 2003 goes down in the annals of history as a sad day for democracy and press
Ireedom in Zimbabwe. The police in Harare stormed the oIIices oI The Daily News and shut
the newspaper down, acting on a Supreme Court ruling issued the previous day declaring that
the Daily News was operating outside the law.` The paper had reIused to register with the
government appointed Media Information Committee (MIC) as required under (AIPPA),
whose constitutionality it was challenging in the courts. However, the Supreme Court threw
out the paper`s challenge on the basis that the paper had approached it with dirty hands.` As
such, the paper was ordered to first register with the MIC before its case could be heard. The
MIC in turn refused to register The Daily News, citing among other things the expiry of the
deadline and that the paper had operated illegally Ior eight months.` (Moyo. 2005: 109 110)

24
2.2 Impact of closure of The Daily News
In a bid to address my research questions, chief among them being the need to shed light on
the extent to which new media has been instrumental in nurturing democracy and
empowering the populace, I dwell at some length on the ramifications of the unceremonious
closure of The Daily News.
The closure of The Daily News had far reaching implications not only for press freedom but
for the future of democracy in Zimbabwe. With the main critical players silenced, the
Mugabe government could perpetuate its crackdown on activists and other dissenting voices
unchecked. Paradoxically, yet another vacuum for alternative information was created with
this unceremonious closure of a dissenting newspaper.
In today`s world.
it has become widely accepted that the media are central to modern democracy as
primary sources of information. This is because democracy as a political system
requires an informed citizenry that is capable of participating effectively in public
debate and in the overall political process, where they have to make informed
decisions. Consequently, the exchange and free flow of information and the ability of
citizens to have equal access to sources of information as well as equal opportunities
to participate in political debates have been considered key elements oI democracy`
(Keane 1991, Lichtenberg 1995).
10

Yet in one single stroke. one key element oI democracy an independent` newspaper IulIilling
its watchdog role, had been wiped off the scene by the Zimbabwe authorities.

10
. Cited in Moyo. D. (2005) The independent` press and the Iight Ior democracy in Zimbabwe: A critical
analysis of the banned Daily News. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture.
25
The extent to which new media platforms have contributed to re-opening democratic spaces
and promoting the democratic discourse in a dictatorship such as Zimbabwe will be fully
considered in subsequent chapters. In the same vein, the ambivalent opportunities of new
media in enabling the proliIeration and ampliIication oI alternative` voices will also be fully
interrogated.

2.3 The I nternet and Potentials for Democracy: a review of international perspectives
Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps
through the walls. Topped by barbed wire, it wafts across
the electrified borders.
___Ronald Reagan, speech in London, June 1989
__________________________________________________________________
Opinion is diverse and varied on the immense potential of the internet for democracy, the
world over. Writing in Democracy and New Media`. Roger Hurwitz maintains:
Cyberspace appears to be a contested area, with struggles of private versus public
interests, along one dimension, and civil liberties/civil society versus state power,
along another dimension. The tensions are indivisible from and even proceed from the
formation of our civilian cyberspace from a military/statist core, they will not be
quickly resolved at a political level, although they might be trivialised by the
commercialisation of the Internet (Hurwitz, 2003:101-102).
Such is the strength of this school of thought that other scholars, such as Douglas Schuler,
argue that in spite of the much publicised hype, the internet has no place in politics,
26
especially given the growth and prominence of industry and commerce in today`s business
oriented world. Notwithstanding the controversy, some maintain that:
the internet has become a new tool and venue for political groups of all stripes.
Advocacy and interest groups use it to organise their supporters for online lobbying of
local, national, and foreign officials, who themselves need e-mail addresses to be
credible in this information age. Ad hoc responses to major political events, like
impeachment and massacres, can gain national attention in a few days, as network
users redistribute petitions and sample letters to their personal distribution lists.
Revolutionaries, like the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico, and dissidents, like the
Serbian radio group B92, can webcast messages to audiences all over the globe and
receive moral and financial support in return. Survivalist groups can network by
exchanging pointers to respective websites and thereby increase the possibilities of so
called leaderless resistance (Hurwitz, 2003:102).
In a bid to address this dissertation`s research questions ie, seeking to elucidate the input of
new media in fostering democracy in authoritarian regimes, it is imperative to start by
looking at the potentials of the internet for democracy more broadly: What role has been
played by mobile phones and the virtual public sphere in promoting civic and political action
globally? What are the potentials posed by such digital technologies in this respect?
Platforms which will also be considered are, in particular, the world wide web as it allows
different tools such as blogs, wikis and social networking sites to flourish.
New media offers numerous possibilities to various stakeholders: proponents of democracy,
Journalists or even the hegemonic group Politicians. As Rena Kim Biven notes:
27
Rising public documentation via mobile phones inserts a new element into
traditional news Ilow cycles while material Irom bloggers acting as citizen
iournalists` occasionally aids reporting oI contested topics or regions Iraught with
accessibility issues. Thus. New Media enables the potential for boundless discussion
among the public and also engagement with New Media by news organisations
(Bivens, 2008: 113).
In seeking to describe the input of new media in the democratic discourse, I am well aware of
the challenges posed by some new media platforms such as the Internet for instance. In the
words of Sarah Oates and Rachel Gibson:
The study of the Internet has defied traditional scholarship in two primary ways. First,
the Internet has changed so rapidly and so fast that it is enormously difficult to keep
up with its content and direction, much less try to predict how it may affect political
behaviour and civil society (Oates, and Gibson , 2006:2).
Such an observation should caution against reaching simplistic judgements in my evaluation
of the impact of new media in fostering democracy in authoritarian regimes. Oates and
Gibson argue Iurther and point out that there are many opinions about the Internet and its
role in politics, but relatively little research that can be replicated and discussed across
country boundaries` (2006: 2). Although I do not seek to propose a universal model on the
impact of the Internet on democracy in a third world country like Zimbabwe, nonetheless,
this study seeks to illuminate the input of new media in aiding/hindering democracy in third
world countries such as Zimbabwe, suggesting parallels and ways of analysing similar media
in similar contexts, as previous research has tended to focus on case-studies to do with
countries such as the US and Britain, whose histories and political systems are in many
respects different from African countries.
28
The Internet as a new media platform is highly complex. As (Oates and Gibson 2006:2)
sums up:
One of the primary problems in looking at the Internet is that it is paralleled in the
study of the mass media in general. The Internet is a sphere that can involve virtually
all levels of the political world simultaneously, from the officials who are
broadcasting their policies via websites, to the mass media that are interpreting the
messages on separate websites, to the citizens sitting at their computers and absorbing
internet content. Therefore, just as with traditional mass media, it is important to
consider which level of analysis is under examination.
Andrew Chadwick has written extensively on this area: the interface between democracy and
new media. He is of the view that the internet has now become heavily politicised and this
trend is likely to intensify. He argues there is now growing pressure for control of the internet
and at the same time that oIIicial` actors are making uses oI its aIIordances. thus qualiIying
some of the hype about its nature being always pro-democratic:
Political actors are increasingly attempting to use the Internet to enhance their
presence and legitimise their activities in ways that are genuinely new but which still
have affinities with older media strategies long ago designed for traditional print and
broadcast media. States are increasingly attempting to regulate social and political
behaviour online and are monitoring the use of the internet by groups and movements
considered to be a threat to political stability and the interests of key economic actors.
In the meantime, such economic actors are themselves lobbying governments to act to
protect their positions (Chadwick, 2006:2).
Relations between states and civil society have not always been amicable, and this trend is
likely to continue especially as developments like e-democracy and Internet-enabled
29
grassroots mobilization are energising traditional Iorms oI civic engagement.` (Chadwick.
2006:2)
In some studies, it is clear that a view prevails that the Internet has empowered ordinary
people. In this view, whereas they used to be largely marginalized by the mainstream
broadcast media and television, now they can turn to the Net for deliberative democracy. The
relative speed and fluidity of cyberspace sometimes allows marginal groups to thrust their
agenda into the political mainstream (Mitra, 2001:34). The authoritative status of powerful
institutional players over information, at the very least and be they governments,
corporations, or mainstream media has certainly been loosened (Chadwick, 2006: 6). For
some, the very notion of authoritative communication has been challenged (Mitra, 2001:34).
Institutional power in the offline world certainly travels over to the online world, but power
in cyberspace is apparently much more fragile and contingent. Compared with the relatively
passive consumption of broadcasting, cyberspace is a more interactive and participatory
communication ecosystem in which it becomes more difficult for the powerful to intervene to
draw discussion to a close (Chadwick, 2006: 6).
The complex potential of the Internet and especially the world wide web in aiding democratic
discourse is seen by the diverse ways some governments the world over have sought to
regulate and contain the internet for their own parochial interests. This has however not been
without setbacks as the internet is not that easy to regulate unlike other forms of media such
as Television. As Chadwick notes: it is still relatively diIIicult Ior governments to regulate
and control access to Internet content. Some governments have tried and have achieved
surprising successes, most notably, in authoritarian systems such as China and Singapore.
Physical seizure of computers is one option, as is state rationing of access to
telecommunication inIrastructure` (Chadwick. 2006:7). But. as Michael Froomkin puts it.
What most governments still cannot effectively do, short of full-time keystroke, screen
30
capture, or processor-level surveillance, is prevent even a slightly motivated person from
accessing material available online` (Froomkin. 2003: 780). There are well-known technical
fixes for state censorship, such as using proxy servers, encryption, and other anonymity tools
to route around controls. This should not be misconstrued that the internet cannot be
regulated, as has often been claimed. Rather, the comparative difficulty of regulating it
depends upon the continuation oI its current standards and protocols` (Chadwick. 2006: 7).
Of much importance/relevance to my research questions is the mere fact that authoritarian
regimes vigorously seek to contain and regulate the internet. This, in a way, highlights the
immense potential of new media platforms such as the internet in harnessing democracy,
Irom the point oI view oI pro-democracy` activists. Much as authoritarian regimes may
strive to contain and regulate the internet, their efforts seem futile. However, there still
remains the thorny question of skills and access. Just because technology is available to
enable information seeking and debate does not mean that it will be used for this purpose. As
Mark Warschauer notes: What is most important is not so much the physical availability of
computers and the Internet but rather people`s ability to make use oI those technologies to
engage in meaningIul social practices` (Warschauer. 2004: 217).
Nevertheless. Dana Ott is oI the view: access to electronic information can have a positive
impact in promoting democracy in Africa, by providing civil society with greater leverage
vis-à-vis the state and political elites (Ott, 1998: 1). Others argue similarly:
The general belief holds that representative government is the only form of democracy
that is Ieasible in today`s sprawling. heterogeneous nation-states. However,
interactive telecommunications now make it possible for tens of millions of widely
dispersed citizens to receive the information they need to carry out the business of
government themselves, gain admission to the political realm, and retrieve at least
31
some of the power over their own lives and goods that many believe their elected
leaders are squandering (Grossman, 1996:6).
Therein lies Habermas` concept oI the public sphere and how an inIormed public can put to
good use, new media platforms such as mobile phones, and the internet in challenging
tyranny and plotting a way foward.
Oates offers alternative and refreshing perspectives on the interface between democracy and
the Internet. She poses interesting questions:
Do the particular features of the Internet, particularly its greater ability to promote
user engagement and subvert national regulation; make it a particularly useful tool for
aggregating interests and expressing the views of citizens in non-Iree states?` (Oates.
2003:2)
She goes further and argues that such questions can only be fully addressed by discussing
fundamental issues to do with the Internet, such as:
Is the Internet qualitatively different from the more traditional forms of the media? Of
interest to me as it addresses my research questions: Has the internet demonstrated a
real potential to improve civil society through the wider provision of information and
more direct communication between government and citizen? Can the Internet serve
as a defender or even rallying point for certain elements of a civil society --- such as
freedom of speech, the development of social movements and the consolidation of
political parties --- or is it effectively controlled or even subverted by authoritarian
regimes (Oates, 2003:2).
Pertinently for this dissertation, Oates asks whether the Internet is not in effect acting as a
double-edged sword by posing a threat to the coherence oI civil society.` as it seems to be a
32
preserve oI the elites who are more likely to have access and thus use it to aggregate their
narrow interests against the broad concerns oI the populace` (Oates. 2003: 3).
In tandem with some oI Sarah Oates` views. I strive to show here how even the changing
media functions incited by new media can be manipulated as a propaganda tool by despotic
regimes. In the same vein, changed technologies do not necessarily alter political realities:
pro-democracy` activists also have ulterior motives and self-interests to acquire political
power and thus can use these new media platforms to further rhetoric which is far divorced
from democratic ideals. In the final analysis, useful insights can be drawn on the immense
potential/ limitations of the internet in furthering/hindering the democratic discourse in
authoritarian systems, as noted in the foregoing international literature review. The topic
under study is a huge research area which cannot be limited to one sphere of the world. As
noted in the review, the interface between new media and democracy has a universal appeal
in various parts of the world. Much as new media has an international presence in
undemocratic regimes the world over, it is useful to once more refer to Oates and Gibson`s
observation that though opinion is diverse and varied in terms oI the role oI the internet in
politics. nonetheless. there simply isn`t enough research that can be replicated and discussed
across country boundaries` (2006:2). Such a vacuum is one area I hope my study will help to
plug especially in shedding light on the input of new media in authoritarian regimes in third
world countries such as Zimbabwe. The third world seems to be a little considered sphere in
this respect as current academic scholarship has tended to largely focus on the role of the
internet in politics in the developed world. Before moving into the case-studies that constitute
my study, however, chapter 3 will examine in more detail the methods used to gather and
analyse data.

33
Chapter 3 - Research Methodology
3.1 Research Approaches
This chapter seeks to identify and discuss the various research methods I have employed and
the methodologies that underpin them. I will also strive to establish and justify
methodologies I feel best address my key research questions. The merits and de-merits of the
numerous research approaches will also be taken into account, as this has an impact on the
credibility of conclusions drawn in the end. Equally important is discussion of the kind of
data used as evidence, and also the methodologies most commonly applied to them. Methods
of inquiry can be differently inflected, especially when analysing electronic and print sources.
Especially worth looking at is the use of propaganda as a tool at the disposal of an existing
regime in their bid to entrench and perpetuate their authority. Chomsky and Herman`s model
of propaganda (1988)
11
will therefore be central in my analysis. It will be ideal to preview
some articles and electronic sources in this section through showing how I`ll analyse them
using, for instance, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA).
Informed by a belief that the fusion of methodologies in a single research design enables one
to come up with a superior piece of research in which the weaknesses of one are
complemented by the strengths of another (Bryman, 1984:86, Strelitz, 2003:92), my study
will mainly use the Qualitative research paradigm. Thus a multi-method research design
combining elements of the case study approach, interviews and content analysis seemed
appropriate.



11
Herman E, S and Chomsky N, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, (1988).
Through this book, Herman and Chomsky popularized the propaganda model, although it is not without its
shortcomings.
34
3.2 Ethical Challenges
In line with academic standards which my University has to comply with, before one
embarks on a research topic, I had to complete an Ethics form setting out among other things:
project title, professional ethics and specific ethical issues to take into account. I faced
unforeseen setbacks as the first form I submitted was not approved by the Academic Board
for the MA Media programme. They felt my choice of topic was very sensitive, and given the
nature of the Mugabe regime, I was putting not only myself to risk but also my family. In
close liaison with my Supervisor, I had to rethink how I would uphold ethical issues to the
letter, respect and closely guard the privacy and confidentiality of my sources unless they
granted me permission to quote their names in my study and protect family and myself. These
ethical challenges had ramifications on my research design which I had to alter in some
instances. For example, when interviewing various stakeholders, I had to use an assumed
identity, and had to surf political blogs under a pseudonym. In one extreme case, I had to
terminate a planned interview with a pro-regime online news Editor who became intrusive
wanting to know my precise personal details.

3.3 Case Study Approach
Since my study is an investigation, I will mainly use the case study approach, focusing on
Zimbabwe and the extent to which new media has helped in fostering democracy. A case
study approach is normally undertaken as a way to circumvent generalisations, or when
multiple perspectives are being sought. It has been argued that a case is a specific, unique,
bounded system whose particularity, in and of itself, merits research. (Stake, 1995:4) For a
case to yield richer and multiple insights into the phenomenon under study, it maybe
necessary to employ various methods of enquiry. (Hamel, Dufuor and Fortin 1993, Yin 1989,
Flick 1992 cited in Stake 1995 and Olaf Tietje 2000). Thus a researcher should not simply
35
find the most appropriate method but a combination of methods, which produce a better and
deeper understanding of the research question.(Hansen et al, 1988) This explains why I have
opted to employ a combination of methods in my research within the qualitative research
ambit.
The case study approach is the most suitable method for situations where one wants to obtain
a wealth of detail about a particular phenomenon or situation, from which to draw new
interpretations and insights. The technique is open to the use of various other methods, in fact
the more the data sources that can be brought to bear in a case, the more likely that the study
is valid. (Wimmer and Dominic 1991: 150) Thus the study consists of a qualitative content
analysis of the blogs: http://kubatanablogs.net and
http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe in which individual posts will be considered.
Content analysis equips one with tools for the systematic analysis of large amounts of media
output. (Hansen, et al, 1998:91, Deacon, et al 1995:115). Although hits on blogs can be
considered unreliable indicators of the relative popularity of blog posts, these should be
looked at in relation to other factors such as: the number of other blogs that lists them on their
blog roll and readers` postings are much more signiIicant.

3.4 Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA)
Overall, I will employ, (CDA) as an investigative tool to investigate and critique the input of
new media in fostering/impinging democracy in Authoritarian regimes and in addressing
other research questions. CDA falls within the Qualitative Research paradigm. The validity of
critical discourse analysis remains a matter of interpretation. Some have argued that as there
is no hard data provided through discourse analysis. the reliability and validity oI one`s
research or Iindings depends on the Iorce and logic oI one`s arguments. (Frohmann.
1994:101) Even the best constructed arguments are subject to their own deconstructive
36
reading and counter-interpretations (Frohmann, 1994: 101). Thus, it is my intention to
employ a critical deconstructive reading oI two blogs and online news websites` coverage oI
news with a bearing on Zimbabwe.
CDA is a type of discourse analytical research that primarily studies the way the abuse,
dominance and inequality of social power are enacted, reproduced and resisted by text and
talk in the social and political context. CDA seeks ultimately to resist social inequality (Teun
A. Van Dijk, 1998:1). CDA model fits in quite well within the scope of my study and the
critical theory perspective. Norman Fairclough is one of the chief proponents of CDA, and I
will use his approach to CDA (1995) especially when I do textual analysis.
Fairclough`s CDA was based on a critical perspective on society. and my maior pre-
occupation will be the site of struggle/the constant clash between hegemonic discourse as
espoused by dictatorships and democracy` as championed by some new media actors.
In assessing blog postings. I consider comments made by bloggers`. as a yardstick to reach
conclusions on the potentials of Blogging for democracy. The frequency and intensity of blog
postings, both by users and Host will also be taken into account. Questions such as the
following will thus need to be considered: what is the frequency of postings on the blogs
like? Is there an increase in Blog traffic at certain times, such as Election time or is it
consistent at a particular level?
I will also strive to use sampling of the blog posts, as it is not each and every posting I will
consider. I will consider blog posts made in the period leading up to the watershed March
2008 joint Parliamentary and Presidential elections, the aftermath of the elections, the
subsequent one man sham Presidential election of June 28, and its volatile aftermath. I will
also look at the post September 15th signing of the proposed Government of national unity
(GNU) between the ruling party` and the opposition, scenario. I have chosen these particular
37
time frames, following random sampling and close survey of blog postings, which revealed to
me the best ways to quantify the input of new media in enhancing/undermining democracy in
Totalitarian regimes, could justifiably be noted in both pre and post election scenarios in
individual countries like Zimbabwe for instance. I noticed an increased traffic of internet use
within this time frame.
Through applying CDA, the study will also briefly preview some journalistic articles, blog
postings, speeches by the hegemonic group such as Politicians, in a bid to assess the input of
new media in aiding/undermining democratic discourse. The preview is intended to be a
snapshot only, as a much more detailed analysis will be the subject of chapter 4 and 5. Of
greater importance to me is the need to focus on the power in language as a discourse, taking
Fairclough`s cue on power relations Iurther.

3.5 Sample Case Studies - Mugabe and Hate-Speech
The media in authoritarian regimes such as Zimbabwe is largely state-owned and, quite
evidently, usually advances a hegemonic point of view. Public media institutions such as the
sole broadcaster and Television station ZBC-ZTV and the two government dailies, The
Herald and Chronicle champions the establishment`s ideology and line oI thinking. I
therefore seek to explore the diverse ways in which language can be manipulated by the
powerful and the hegemonic organisations to entrench and buttress their self-interests.
A salient example of how language can be manipulated to serve the needs of the hegemony
can be seen through the machinations of Mugabe and his henchmen in Zimbabwe. One needs
to look at their speeches to gain an insight into this phenomenon. A brief historical note about
Mugabe is therefore essential.
38
He is one oI AIrica`s last remaining despots. Mugabe has been at the helm oI Zimbabwe`s
politics for over two decades. He has sought to manipulate the colonial ideology as expedient
rhetoric to perpetuate his rule indefinitely. Subsequently, he enjoys an audience in Africa and
parts of the Middle East where he has created cult status as an anti-colonial icon. Possibly, for
a generation growing up during Mugabe`s heydays (the 1960s usually dubbed the anti-
colonial days in Africa), it was his anti-colonial stances that made them supporters and he has
retained some pan-African support in that guise.
Mugabe`s persistent anti-West rhetoric has inevitably led to propaganda of higher proportions
unfolding. An example of this propaganda can be seen in a news article, published on the
BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk on 12 December 2008, in which responding to the
cholera epidemic which was then ravaging the country, Mugabe and his spin-doctors claimed
that the cholera epidemic was a creation of the Americans and British to get rid of the
Zimbabwean people. Ludicrous as it appears, anti-imperialist slight of hand has become
Mugabe`s hallmark. shiIting blame Ior his ruinous economic policies onto the Americans and
British. Such uses of language can have considerable effects on a predominantly rural
populace, whose only source of information is the government controlled radio, and who are
therefore likely to be unable to check alternative sources or be exposed to opposing
viewpoints from outside their own communities. Mugabe has consistently demonised the
opposition MDC as an American and British creation. To some ordinary Zimbabweans, this
propaganda has led them to believe that the opposition MDC is a puppet` oI the West.
Mugabe is also a past master at using hate-speech and inflammatory language without being
challenged for it. It is insightIul to preview some oI the revolutionary rhetoric` evident in
speeches he has used time to time to intimidate opponents and stifle the democratic discourse.

39
3.6 President's Fighting Tal k
'Our votes must go together with our guns. AIter all. any votes we shall have
shall have been the product of the gun. The gun which produces the vote should
remain its security officer - its guarantor¨ (1976)
'Our party must continue to strike Iear in the heart oI the white man. our real
enemy!¨ (December 2000)
'We are no longer going to ask Ior the land but we are going to take it without
negotiating¨ (2000)
'We have degrees in violence¨ (2000)
'When they criticise the Government ... we take the position that they can go
hang¨ (2007)
'Let the people's voice thunder across the whole country on 29 March. reiecting
and damning once and for all the bootlicking British stooges, the traitors and
sellouts, the political witches and political prostitutes, political charlatans and the
two-headed political creatures¨ (2008)
Sources: Times archives (http://timesonline.co.uk February 2009)
A critical deconstructive reading of such speeches reveals the immense power of
language as a discourse especially in a nation in which information dissemination is
largely the preserve of the ruling government. The recent genocide in Rwanda and
Burundi is a living testimony of what happens when leaders fan hate speech through the
medium of radio, for instance. The endemic political violence and gross human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe orchestrated under Mugabe`s rule and his military iunta are well
40
documented and those who commit them, I suggest, are encouraged and emboldened by
such hate speech.

3.7 Zimbabwe: The Public Media and Chomsky`s Propaganda Model
Zimbabwe is currently under sanctions both by the European Union and the United
States of America. These sanctions are avowedly aimed at forcing Mugabe and his
regime adhere to democratic principles of good governance, respect for the rule of law
and observance of human rights. The EU has recently renewed the sanctions for a
further twelve months, effective from February 2009. Of greater significance to note on
the sanctions list are the inclusion oI Journalists who contribute to Mugabe`s
propaganda, day in day out, defending and fanning violence, falsehoods and human
rights abuses. Names of key Mugabe propagandists Caesar Zvayi, Judith Makwanya,
Reuben Barwe and Mugabe`s vicious` press secretary George Charamba are present
on the EU sanctions list. None sums it better than a report by the respected, independent
media watchdog in Zimbabwe MMPZ: Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe,
commenting on the state of the public media in Zimbabwe:
The report outlines Mugabe`s propaganda war. directed by his controversial
spokesman Charamba, with the State media conspicuously silent on hundreds of
deaths and thousands of cases of torture, assault, arson and destruction of homes in
state-driven lawlessness.
'No longer is it adequate to say they are politically biased.¨ the report said. 'The state
broadcaster and Zimbabwe Newspapers, led by the daily Herald in Harare, broadcast
'deliberately untrue and inIlammatory statements¨ that have 'the eIIect oI inciting
people to violence.
41
'When one day. the perpetrators oI violence are held to account. those who incited
them with hate speech` should not be Iorgotten¨. MMPZ says.
(http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com - February 2009)
MMPZ has previously accused the state media oI using a similar strategy as Rwanda`s
hate radio` which incited the violence that led to the death of about a million people
there in 1994.
The public media`s modus operandi in Zimbabwe Ialls well within the realm oI Herman
and Chomsky`s propaganda model. the manuIacture oI consent` as it came to be
known, which identifies biases in the media that attempt to drown dissent and build
consensus around authoritarian ideas.
In the case of Zimbabwe, the public media is largely owned by the state, thus the state
media Iits well into one oI Chomsky and Herman`s Iilters` oI media operation. that of
ownership, in the sense that the sort of information and news presented to the
Zimbabwean populace by the public Broadcaster and newspapers is blatantly biased as
it is bent on preserving the ruling elite`s grasp on power. Propaganda can. however. be a
double edged sword as it can also be utilised by pro-democracy and human rights
activists`. The aIorementioned groups can use it as a springboard to Iurther political
careers, in which case their anti-dictatorship talk becomes mere empty rhetoric, as once
such self-interested cliques assume power, society witnesses a perpetuation of the same
evils that pro-democracy activists` used to demonise. The unIolding events in
Zimbabwe, following the swearing in into office of the GNU as of February 2009,
vindicates such scepticism, as will be shown in analysis in subsequent chapters.

42
3.8 Language as Power Discourse
Language is a key Iactor in my deconstructive reading oI some oI Zanu PF`s speeches
and propaganda writings. Through its significatory powers, the media constructs what it
represents thereby creating speciIic meanings out oI events. In this process. language
becomes central as it is the medium through which meanings are produced (Hall 1982:
63). Even Fairclough`s approach to CDA. his method oI textual analysis is based on a
critical perspective of society. He argues that mediated communication is an arena of
contest, as language is used to exercise power (Fairclough, 1995: 58).
But how do we explain the massive glare of publicity that has bedevilled the autocratic
regime in Harare? Publicity which has seen images of human rights violations, assaults
oI pro-democracy activists.` the trampling oI democracy and democratic values being
beamed out around the world, such that the crisis in Zimbabwe has assumed global
prominence? The answer lies in the advent and proliferation of new media actors
working across different new media platforms. In a telephone interview I conducted
with prominent Zimbabwean journalist and Editor of the online news website:
http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk, Wilf Mbanga, who now lives in exile in the United
Kingdom, the explanation is all too palpable. Now, with the prevalence of new media,
information is no longer the sole preserve of the ruling elite or big media institutions.
Much as Mugabe and his henchmen strive to undermine the democratic discourse, the
tide is beginning to turn against dictatorships as will be shown in my case study
analyses in chapter 4 and 5.
New media has largely played an emancipatory role as it enters the hitherto
disempowered public sphere` with providing tools to discuss how people are being
governed enabling them to question the status quo. If subjects are unhappy in the way
43
they`re being governed. then they can harness new media and agitate for political
reform as is currently the case in Authoritarian regimes such as in Zimbabwe.
In summary, through a combination of CDA, content analysis, interviews with Editors and
contributors to online news websites` with a bearing on Zimbabwe. I will seek in chapters 4
and 5 to establish their input in aiding/or inhibiting the democratic discourse. I propose to do
a close textual analysis of similar news articles and assess how they are treated in these
independent` online news websites. and pro-establishment media/sites. It will especially be
helpful to look at how authoritarian regimes are responding to online challenges of new
media platforms to their power base. In choosing a particular time frame to focus on, in my
textual analysis of individual news articles, I have decided to let the time frame be an open
cheque approach and will focus on what I deem to be pertinent news stories. I have made
this decision given the currency of news values with regard to the situation currently
obtaining in Zimbabwe, as major newsworthy events emerge daily. Such an approach will
help in ensuring my study remains current and contemporary.








44
Chapter 4 - Historical Case Study: Zimbabwe - Politics and Media
4.1 Repression and Closure of Democratic Space
Zanu PF the ruling party` in Zimbabwe has been at the helm oI politics in this troubled
Southern African nation for over two decades. Zanu PF long lost the mandate and legitimacy
to be in power in Zimbabwe, way back in 2002 when Mugabe rigged his way back into
office.
12
The last Presidential election of March 2008 saw Mugabe coming second place to
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai of the (MDC) party. Mugabe held on to the election
results for close to two months, plotting ways to doctor the results. In the end, Mugabe and
his military junta, won the day as they declared no-one had won the elections with adequate
votes to claim outright victory, thus a run off had to be conducted, as a way out of the
impasse
13
. What followed was a dark period in the history of modern Zimbabwe. It saw
Mugabe unleash his sadistic hoodlums. war veterans`. onto Zimbabwean civilians
14
.
Violence won the day. Opposition leader Tsvangirai pulled out of the impending run-off
election, citing gross violence and intimidation perpetrated against his supporters by Zanu PF.
He took sanctuary in the Dutch embassy in Harare, as his own life was under threat.
Predictably, Mugabe went ahead with a farcical one-man election on June 28, 2008 in which
he alone. the sole candidate. wasre-elected`.
Political and constitutional crisis existed in Zimbabwe Iollowing Mugabe`s sham re-election.
There was no government in the country for several months. It was only after February, 2009

12
.The Presidential elections of March 2002 in Zimbabwe were largely dismissed by the International
community as fraudulent as there were allegations of vote rigging and impropriety corroborated by the EU and
independent election monitors and observers.
13
.Diverse Journalistic articles by respected Journalists such as Angus Shaw and Raymond Maingire among
others back my interpretation of historical events. View the following articles which appeared on:
http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com:`Mugabe Vows Friday`s Election Is On` and `Widespread Intimidation Seen
in Election`. Both articles are quite instructive in aIIirming my interpretation oI historical events.
14
.Interpretation of political and historical events backed by Journalistic articles, see footnote 2 above for
details.
45
that a new coalition government, comprising Zanu PF, and the two MDC formations: came
into being as a Government of National Unity (GNU).
But how can Mugabe`s Iall Irom grace be explained. especially Ior someone once revered as
a statesman oI the highest order` by the West. one who used to be dined and wined by the
West, seen in the same mould or hall of fame as living legends like Nelson Mandela? How,
especially, can we explain his exposure as corrupt and violent when almost all media were
banned or controlled by him? In this dissertation, I explore the part played by new media in
exposing Mugabe`s excesses such as human rights abuses and the implementation oI
undemocratic practices. Such exposure helped to conscientise an otherwise docile populace,
who began to question how they were governed and subsequently to agitate for political
reform.
The Mugabe government in a bid to consolidate its hegemony and control the democratic
space especially from the 1990s enacted a plethora of legislations to undermine human rights
and media freedoms. These draconian pieces of legislations have been referred to in chapter
2
15
. However, new media platforms such as the Blogging phenomenon have contributed to
empowering the populace, by equipping them with tools to fight undemocratic political
tactics. My main focus is on two blogs as case studies. In tandem, also in Chapter 5, I
consider how mainstream and pro-dictatorship forces are responding to online challenges and
how they are using both older and new media forms to maintain their hegemony.

4.2 Blogging Phenomenon - Case Studies
Blogging has become one of the fastest growing forms of online activities, and is proving to
have potential as a media platform which can enhance citizen participation in public life

15
See Laws Restricting Media Freedom section in Chapter 2
46
(Blood, 2003, Singer, 2005, Hiler 2002). In societies with little public and mainstream media
freedom, rather than being mere online diaries or repositories for skills and knowledge on
particular topics as they often become in the USA, blogs appear to provide a virtual public
sphere where people can meet` to discuss political. civic and social issues oI interest to them.
In addition, blogs are diverse in terms of their focus; they can focus on personal thoughts and
commentary or public and social issues. Most blogs have facilities for readers to leave
comments and other messages, thus creating a community of readers centred on a particular
blog. Although it can be argued that blogs are nothing more than electronic diaries, some
scholars contend that blogs offer an interactive communication outlet for alternative voices
which are traditionally left out of the mainstream media (Blood, 2003: 62, Lasica, 2002: 72).
Here I carry out a critical deconstructive analysis of articles from two blogs:
http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/ and http://www.kubatanablogs.net
This is Zimbabwe` is a blog spearheaded by a support group: Zvakwana/Sokwanele. It is a
blog with an interface on the politics and mundane life of Zimbabwe. The nomen clature of
the two terms: Zvakwana/Sokwanele is highly illuminating. Zvakwana and Sokwanele are
Zimbabwe vernacular terms which mean, enough is enough, possibly implying, people have
had enough oI Mugabe`s dictatorship. its time to be pro-active and do something!
On This is Zimbabwes homepage are the words:
Zimbabwe Civic Action Support Group.
Campaigning for freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe
Further down the page, they describe themselves as:
A people`s movement. embracing supporters oI all pro-democratic political parties,
civic organisations and institutions.
47
Sokwanele Zvakwana is a people`s Iorce through which democracy will be
restored to the country and protected jealously for future generations to ensure that
Zimbabweans will never be oppressed again.
(http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/ - April 2009)
Such examples of how pro-democracy groups characterise themselves provide insights into
the possible dangers of overlooking the gaps between rhetoric and reality even in well
intentioned pro-democratic forces such as these. This should be kept in mind during the
coming sections.

4.3 The Case of New Media & German Company: Giesecke & Devrient:
A critical discourse analysis of sections from This is Zimbabwe is ideal to address my
research interests. From July 2008, This is Zimbabwe waged a systematic, concerted
campaign against tyranny in Zimbabwe. In their highly publicised campaign, bloggers
lobbied and appealed to both the International Community and the German government to
desist from supplying an economic lifeline to the despotic regime by ensuring German
Company: Giesecke and Devrient stopped printing money for the regime in Harare. Extracts
of the campaign will be reproduced here:
The money that is used to Iund Robert Mugabe and the Joint Operational Command`s
(JOC) campaign of terror is exclusively supplied by the German company: Giesecke and
Devrient in the form of banknotes printed and delivered to Zimbabwe. The Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe, which is headed by Gideon Gono (one of the five people comprising
JOC), is supplied with ever increasing quantities of banknotes despite the fact that
48
printing money leads to spiralling hyper-inflation.
(http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/ - April 2009)
(JOC) stands for the Joint Operations Committee.
16
In encouraging activists to support the
campaign against the German company, This is Zimbabwe bloggers acted as mentors,
providing civic information to members of the public. This is especially evident when they
make a rational argument as in the excerpt below:
Our sample letter provides more information on why we want you to lobby Giesecke &
Devrient, but we would like to particularly call your attention to the fact that the money
printed by Giesecke & Devrient is used by the Zanu PF regime to pay war veterans,
militia, the army and the police to conduct a carefully coordinated campaign of violence
and brutality against the Zimbabwean people. Please note that a recent statement
released by Genocide Watch includes this terrible warning:
ZANU-PF militias, the Zimbabwe army and police, and ZANU-PF mobs have pushed
Zimbabwe to Stage 6, the preparation stage immediately preceding political mass
murder. (http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/ - April 2009)
It is instructive to note that, in the preceding excerpt, not only do bloggers make a rational
argument to legitimize their campaign, but by providing a sample letter to be used by
members of the public in executing this campaign, they are going a step further by
providing training in civic skills. Thus it can be argued new media is empowering the
public in their bid to make politicians accountable to the electorate.
This became a sustained and well-coordinated online campaign, organised especially through
the auspices of the blog Sokwanele. Among other platforms used, bloggers employed various

16
(JOC) stands for Joint Operations Committee, a coterie oI Mugabe`s inner circle implicated in corruption.
genocide. political violence and masterminding Mugabe`s Iraud oI the June 2008 Presidential election.
49
methods to publicise the issue: they contacted the German government and Giesecke &
Devrient Company directly, appealed to the ethical code of conduct as espoused by the World
Bank, and how the German Company was in violation of this by continuing to sup with a
discredited Dictatorship as Mugabe`s. Thus. it appears Irom the blog that. through an
avalanche of e mails, phone calls and letters from Zimbabweans and concerned activists, the
campaign gathered momentum.
17
(See Appendix 1 for details) Bloggers went as far as
providing six e mail addresses of the Bank employees of the German company on Sokwanele
blog. A sample letter to be replicated was drafted. In the detailed letter, bloggers appealed to
the Banking Ethics code and charged: continued sustenance of the Mugabe regime made the
German company complicit in acts of terror. (See appendix 2 for full excerpt of the letter,
ideal to view the letter.)
18

Through drafting such an elaborate sample letter and encouraging the public to use it, the
immense potential of Blogging in aiding the democratic discourse is highlighted. The letter
is also reflective of the connections between economics and politics as it sheds light on
how money supplied by the German company is used by the despotic regime in Harare to
stiIle people`s Ireedoms.
Initially, the German government was lukewarm in its response, with German Chancellor,
Angela Merkel dismissing it as a private matter, between Devrient Company and the
Government of Zimbabwe. However, activists were unfazed in their vociferous campaign,
which went on unabated. By early July 2008, activists were beginning to reap positive
dividends in their campaign against the German company, as the German Development
Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul eventually relented and requested that Giesecke and
Devrient stop delivering banknote paper (which is printed to denominations in Harare) to

17
. Appendix 1: Action Plan as espoused by Bloggers.
18
. Appendix 2: Sample Letter drafted by Bloggers.
50
Zimbabwe. She said that the firm had signed an ethical code to which it is bound, that this
code included human rights violations, and that the delivery of money served to stabilise
Mugabe`s regime (http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/ - April 2009).
In July 2008, there were a series of demonstrations by human rights organizations in front of
the corporate headquarters of Devrient in Munich. Finally, the company succumbed to
pressure and announced it would stop supplying Zimbabwe with paper used to print money.
Interestingly, the company did acknowledge they had reached this decision owing to:
"Our decision takes account of concerns about the worsening political situation in
Zimbabwe which we had expected to improve," Karsten Ottenberg, managing director of
Giesecke & Devrient said in a statement. "It also reflects the critical views from the
international community, the government and general public."
(http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/ - April 2009)
It can thus be noted, under pressure from diverse quarters, Guisecke and Devrient Company
relented and decided to stop supplying money to the Zimbabwean government. Subsequently,
as predicted by the pro-democracy groups. Zvakwana bloggers`. - or in what some would
say a vindication oI the bloggers` eIIorts. as oI July 25 2008. a severe cash shortage started
to unfold in Harare and the Zimbabwe government was yet to pay its employees, civil
servants,mainly soldiers, nurses, teachers their July salaries. The Guardian newspaper
reported at the time: The Zimbabwe government was today struggling to Iind enough cash to
pay its workers and more importantly the military, after it was forced to severely cut back on
printing money because sanctions severed its supply oI bank note paper Irom Europe.`
(http://www.guardian.co.uk July 2008)
51
There is little doubt, the massive online global lobby initiated by Sokwanele blog, played a
pivotal role in persuading Devrient Company to sever ties with the Mugabe regime. It would
however be inconclusive to strive to establish conclusions on the immense power of blogging
based only on one case study. A wider scope is required. Another example closely related to
the Devrient Company is that of Jura JSP.

4.4 The Case of Jura JSP & Software License
Buoyed by its overwhelming victory, the blog activists of This is Zimbabwe blog decided to
lauch an action alert on the 24
th
of July 2008, again asking people to take action against Jura
JSP an Austro-Hungarian Company that specialised in securing printing and provided the
software the Zanu PF Government needed in order to continue printing more money. The
activists calculated: if considerable pressure was exerted on the Austro-Hungarian Company
to deprive Zanu PF of the printing software licence then that would grind the printing presses
in Harare to a halt. As one blogger summed it: While Zanu PF can get a new paper source.
(following the unceremonius closure of the German Devrient company source), if the
software license is pulled, - then everything comes crashing down and Zanu PF can no longer
pay off its murdering. raping thugs.` (http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe - April
2009)
Bloggers used similar tactics they had previously employed in lobbying the German
company: Giesecke and Devrient in a prior campaign. An action plan was drafted (see
Appendix 3)
19
, sample letters written up to be despathced to the Austro-Hungarian company
Jura JSP, among other measures. Bloggers were also unanimous in celebrating the success
made by their campaign as reflected by the diversity and celebratory nature of their postings:

19
. Appendix 3 Action Alert: Lobby Jura JSP to suspend or not renew their software licence to the Zimbabwe
government.
52
1. Dear Sir
As a former resident of the beautiful and previously prosperous country of
Zimbabwe I would ask you and your company to sever all links with the brutal and
illegal regime of Robert Mugabe. Please help to prevent the suffering of the people
of Zimbabwe.
Yours truly,
Raymond Allan.
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. 24. July 2008.
2. Done. Have sent off emails all over. We need Angela Merkel to push for this
again. She was instrumental with the Giesecke and Devrient case.
3. There is an article in an Austrian newspaper about our protest mails to JURA
JSP. One new fact seems to be that at least the Vienna Ministry of Economic
Affairs is investigating this matter now.
(http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe - April 2009)

4.5 Kubatana Blog:
Kubatana is an online community for Zimbabwean activists. Through their blog
available on: http://www.kubatanablogs.net , fellow Zimbabweans share their comments,
analysis and thoughts on activism, politics and social justice in Zimbabwe, as they battle
Ior control oI the public sphere. (Reminiscent oI Habermas` public sphere concept which
incidentally is one of the key theoretical frameworks informing my study).
53
Kubatana`s blogging Iorum also reaches beyond the web by sending text messages to
3,800 subscribers. Increasingly, Zimbabweans are going online and using cell phone text
messages to share stories of life and death in a country where independent traditional
media have been all but silenced, and from which reporters from most international
media have been barred. (http://www.news24.com April 2009)
Zimbabwean bloggers are mainly opposition activists whose themes range from
HIV/AIDS to the country`s economic meltdown to Mugabe`s thuggery. The
underground networks can be forums for unsubstantiated rumour, but they also provide
valuable independent information and can even make news. (http://www.news24.com
April 2009)
Through a link on their blog: Activism Page` bloggers on Kubatana Iorum also agitate
for political reform in their home country and provide information on programmes of
action being taken to this end. It is worth explaining the nomen clature of the term,
Kubatana. Kubatana is a vernacular Shona word which means coming together and
joining hands in a show of unity. This seems to be in tandem with Kubatana`s main
thrust whose brief in their own words is. electronic activism.` They also have an
interactive sister website:
http://www.kubatana.net
Kubatana`s mission statement. constantly Ilashing on their home page, is illuminating:
Harnessing the democratic potential oI e mail and the internet in Zimbabwe.`


54
4.6 Hypocrites: Beware the Curse of Power, Mr Minister - A Case Study of
Democrats` in Power
One blogger. Alex Magaisa in a sarcastic treatise Hypocrites` takes a satirical swipe at
the new GNU especially with regard to MDC Politicians who it appears seem to be
Ialling short oI their own democracy standards` Irom yester-year when they were in
Opposition castigating Zanu PF`s proIligacy among other evils of dictatorships.
Though written in a light-hearted tone, the article touches on numerous pertinent issues,
chief among them being the chasm between rhetoric and reality as preached by
politicians and how civil society needs to keep pressure on politicians so that they
remain accountable to the electorate. Incidentally, the blogger touches on Frantz Fanon,
one of the theorists informing my study: ie the post-colonial psyche of dictatorships in
Africa.
As some oI the bloggers` sentiments are instructive, it is ideal to look critically at them.
In his introductory remarks, the blogger asserts:
In our quest to remind our leaders of the basic errors of governance, let us consider
a hypothetical Mr Minister`: the new generation politician who Iought against the
failures of the post-independence era and promised a new dawn.
The idea here is to consider tell-tell signs of when Mr Minister may be crossing that
very thin line that separates the new from the old. In other words, how can we tell if
Mr Minister has really created new footwear or if he has simply stepped into the old
shoes? Mr Minister, who has now escaped the ranks of the opposition begins to speak
the language of authority; the language of law and order. Suddenly, he has become a
defender of even those laws which not so long ago were employed against him. Now
55
he understands the need to ensure adherence to the laws of the country, however
harsh. as long as. he will say. 'it helps to maintain peace and order in the country¨.
Mr Minister`s new Iavourite word is unity`. so anyone who raises dissent is regarded
as an enemy; as an unruly element out to undermine the unity oI the nation`
(http://www.kubatanablogs.net - April 2009)
There is an interesting play in the linguistic discourse used by the blogger above in which he
acknowledges the immense power of language to buttress authority. Equally interesting is
how former opposition politicians, now in a government of national unity manipulate the
linguistic discourse to buttress their new found hegemony, hence the floating around of terms
such as unity`. national healing. `national security` inter-alia. This fits in well with one of
my methodological Irameworks. Fairclough`s (1989. 1995) three dimensional design
framework for conceiving of and analyzing discourse, specifically discourse as texts, that is
the linguistic features.
The prevalence oI satirical. biting remarks in the blogger`s post are illuminating in
Zimbabwe`s case especially in view of the shortcomings already being exhibited by the
GNU.
As opposition politicians, MDC leaders used to speak passionately against using the official
Mercedes Benz cars as they regarded these as obscene and tasteless in a country reeling in
squalor and abject poverty. However, such sentiments can be rightly dismissed as political
rhetoric and demagoguery as the reality obtaining is all but one MDC ministers have accepted
the symbol of power and opulence in African politics, the Mercedes Benz (valued at
US$50,000 per model), with a few of the ministers offering flimsy justifications on why they
are reneging on their pledges. Prominent human rights advocate, Eric Matinenga, now MDC
Constitutional AIIairs Minister said he was embarrassed` at his oIIicial Mercedes.
56
It is a condition oI plenty amidst deprivation.` he said. But the reality on the ground is there
is no other.` You cannot get an alternative they become a convenient evil.`
(http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com - April 2009)

4.7 New media and the Public Sphere:
New media approached in Zimbabwe through the blogging phenomenon can be seen to have
played a pivotal role in highlighting the excesses of both dictators and the shortcomings of
the rising democrats` who until yester-year were in opposition. This incidentally takes me to
Habermas` concept oI the public sphere. Pertinent questions abound: Is there a vibrant public
sphere on the blogosphere vis-à-vis Zimbabwe and beyond the borders? What is the quality
of this public sphere, is it rational, vibrant, horizontal and vertical? Are people in power
listening to concerns raised by the public? What of the peers, are they listening to each other,
is there real engagement out there? Habermas defined the public sphere as: a virtual
community which does not necessarily exist in any identifiable space. In its ideal form, the
public sphere is made up oI private people gathered together as a public and articulating the
needs oI society with the state` (Habermas, 1962: 176). Based on my analysis and via the
case studies above, this seems to be the case with Zimbabwe, a chief difference being that the
public sphere community does in fact exist as evidenced by the diversity of bloggers, and
activists advancing multiple viewpoints on the contested politics in Zimbabwe. As Rutherford
points out: Through acts of assembly and dialogue, the public sphere generates opinions and
attitudes which serve to affirm or challenge therefore, to guide the affairs of state. In ideal
terms. the public sphere is the source oI public opinion needed to legitimate authority in any
Iunctioning democracy.` (RutherIord. 2000: 18)
57
Analysis of the preceding case studies coupled with a plethora of debate both in cyberspace
and the blogosphere shows that to a great extent Habermas` notion oI the public sphere is still
very much active and alive vis-à-vis Zimbabwe with activists, bloggers, campaigners striving
to ensure leaders are accountable for their actions. Human rights violations by the Mugabe
dictatorship are well documented. By continuing to encourage lawlessness, Mugabe is
obviously not listening to the demands of the International community that respect for human
rights and property rights be observed if sanctions are to be lifted and the much needed aid
given to the GNU. It is equally doubtful Tsvangirai is listening, if the barrages of letters, e
mails addressed to him through the public sphere are anything to go by. An interesting
development is, in responding to the challenges of new media platforms such as Blogging,
the Establishment has resorted to using both older and new forms of media such as online
news websites as will be noted in the following chapter. In my concluding chapter, I will look
at the polarization of views and opinion among democratic voices` or peers as they advance
divergent viewpoints through the public sphere.








58
Chapter 5 - New Media Case Study: Online News Websites
5.1 An Emerging Counter Phenomenon
Historically, societies living under repressive regimes have always come up with alternative
Iorms oI communication as tools oI subversion. While underground newspapers and pirate
radio` have been some oI the most common Iorms. the advent oI new communication
technologies in recent years has brought new forms of alternative media with greater
possibilities for trans national and even wider citizen participation and empowerment (Moyo,
2007: 81). In seeking to address my key research questions, this chapter considers how new
media platforms have sought to promote democracy and empower the populace in
Zimbabwe. In addition, the ambivalent nature of new media, especially how mainstream and
pro-dictatorship forces are responding to online challenges utilising both older and new
media, will be considered. The contribution of online news websites and their input to the
now endemic crisis besetting the country will be critiqued. Equally important is the need to
consider the polarisation of group views exhibited by some of the news websites which, in
most cases, have fragmented audiences, undermining the democratising function they purport
to serve. The quality of the public sphere obtaining on the ground is inadvertently brought to
the fore and warrants interrogation.
Zimbabwe`s restricted democratic space has spawned a multiplicity of alternative public
spheres that enable groups and individuals to continue to participate and engage in the wider
debate on the mutating crisis gripping the country since the turn of the century (Moyo, 2007:
81). This study has previously referred to the repressive and restrictive climate prevailing in
Zimbabwe which has seen the curtailment oI people`s Ireedoms and rights. New media
platforms have become a welcome apparatus embraced by the populace.

59
The recent events and controversy following the disputed Presidential elections in Iran offers
useful parallels especially in terms of how the people of Iran like their Zimbabwean
counterparts have turned to the Internet in confronting tyranny. Reference will be made to
these as such parallels are instructive in shedding light to my study. In line with my chosen
research methodology and that of other research which aims to study the virtual public sphere
(cf. CivicWeb, www.civicweb.eu), I employed various methods including conducting
interviews with stakeholders involved in producing the selected news websites, with an
analysis of the interactive nature of the websites to gauge the input of ordinary people.
Telephone interviews were conducted with Editors working for some of the selected sites
between January and May 2009. The sensitivity of my study meant that ethical and safety
considerations impeded access to pro-establishment site editors. There was also the problem
of some interviewees requesting anonymity when expressing their views. This part of the
study also relies on personal observations and uses textual analysis/critical discourse analysis
to interpret some of the major trends in the websites. The diverse ways in which news
websites might promote or undermine democracy will be fully addressed. The thesis mainly
considers:
http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com
http://www.swradioafrica.com
http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk
http://www.talkzimbabwe.com
Talk Zimbabwe will be particularly instructive as it has a pro-government stance.

60
Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora have embraced new media, mainly harnessing it to
promote good governance. Online campaigns have been initiated, on news websites, blog
platforms and through mobile phones. In May 2009 an online campaign was initiated by
activists to have Mugabe`s daughter. Bona Mugabe deported Irom a Hong Kong University
where she is studying under an assumed name. Activists arguments run thus: Mugabe`s
daughter should not prosper abroad while other children are deprived of educational
opportunities. The campaign is being masterminded by: http://www.zimdaily.com,
http://www.swradioafrica and ZINASU, the overall grouping for students in Zimbabwe.
Campaign material of both groups will be previewed through critical discourse analysis
lenses. The Fair Deal` campaign below is however a useIul precursor to the campaign Ior
Mugabe`s daughter to be deported Irom Hong Kong.

5.2 Zimdaily Website: Fai r Deal Campaign
The Zimdaily news website is one form of new media platform agitating for political reform
in Zimbabwe. Zimdaily is unique as a media platform in that it has an internet radio station to
complement its efforts. Previously, Zimdaily championed an online campaign - Fair Deal`
through which they vigorously campaigned for the extradition and deportation of children of
ZANU PF`s oIIicials Irom Universities in diIIerent parts oI the world such as the US. Britain.
Australia and Canada.
The Fair Deal campaign was supported by many Zimbabweans. Zimdaily has a readers`
forum at the bottom of its news articles where readers can input comments with regard to a
particular news story. II such readers` Iorums can be taken as an example oI popular
engagement with the cause, the general response to the campaign was positive as suggested
in the following posts:
61
I want to say thank you very much Zim-Daily for coming up with such a brilliant
move against the hypocrites at home who profess to hate the West when they send
their kids to get the best education in the world yet our fellow parents are suffering
and denied freedom to express their will. This is the only way in which we can
collectively tame the ZANU PF hardliners. They will feel the pain we are going
through when their kids are deported.
Posted by Sydney Malunga (http://www.zimdaily.com May 2009)
Another contributor maintains:
Whether your father is a ZANU PF Minister or not, if you have connived with ZANU
PF in one way or another to steal elections and ideals of democracy which are
sacredly held in the Western world, your only fate is to be back at home to face the
same music with the rest of Zimbabweans, who have unceremoniously suffered trying
to improve the standards of living at the hands of Mugabe and his cohorts. There is
nothing sinister or vengeful about this stance. That is what your fathers, uncles, and
brothers deserve. We need change in Zimbabwe and sending back of people in the
ZANU PF bandwagon is the Iirst step .Let us hit them where it hurts most.
Posted by All Democracy Bigots (http://www.zimdaily.com May 2009)
The diversity of such postings shows how the public sphere is thriving as concerned activists
debate and argue on how they want their country to be governed by those who have usurped
democracy. An interesting dimension in this debate is that some of the children of ZANU PF
officials targeted by the campaign have responded to calls for their deportation advancing
legitimate` arguments:

62
I am totally surprised by the way you think. Sending these people home will not get
you the visas that we have. It will not change the fact that we have a political problem
in our beloved Zimbabwe.
Posted by Man Kambtzs (http://www.zimdaily.com May 2009)
Another posting from someone claiming to be the son of a former cabinet minister in
Mugabe`s government opines:
This is not a Iair deal; it is a very unIair deal. I am a Zimbabwean Iormer minister`s
son and I want to know what I should do. Can I choose parents; can I force him to
resign from his former employment? How?
Posted by K Chidzero (http://www.zimdaily.com May 2009)
It is worth mentioning how because of a prevailing online campaign children of officials are
forced to engage with the whole argument. This shows the potency of cyber space.
3 February 2007 can be regarded as victory day for the input of new media in instigating
change which it is hoped may force despots such as the current regime in Zimbabwe to
promote democracy. The Australian government took the unprecedented step of deporting
seven children of the ruling elite of Zimbabwe from Australia, revoking their study permits in
the process.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was quoted as saying: the suspension oI
student visas, an extension of existing sanctions against Zimbabwe, was provoked by
President Mugabe`s disregard oI democratic principles and human rights.`
(http://www.dniinoi.wordpress.com - May 2009)

63
My own assessment is, it is fair to attribute the success of this campaign to the relentless
efforts of Zimdaily. The campaign which Zimdaily ran for over three months saw
Zimbabweans across the globe contributing names oI ZANU PF oIIicials` children studying
in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. (http://www.dniinoi.wordpress.com May 2009)
Following the huge success of Fair Deal, Zimdaily is now waging another battle, to have
Mugabe`s daughter deported Irom Hong Kong. Zimdaily have dubbed the campaign:
BONA F OR UZ - YES WE CAN!
UZ (University oI Zimbabwe) is the country`s premier Institution oI higher learning. once a
beacon of excellence in higher education in Africa, but now reduced to a ghost of its former
self.

5.3 Support Hong Kong Legislator - Emily Lau Wai- King to get Bona deported!
Whether Zimdaily`s latest campaign will succeed remains to be seen. but most importantly.
observations can be drawn Irom previous campaigns such as Fair Deal`. Zimdaily`s Editor:
Maiswa concedes:
We did what we could as a portal to contribute to the Zimbabwe Struggle and the
struggle continues. One must realize the infinite power of the media and should never
undermine or weary the patience of angry millions. (http://www.dniioi.wordpress.com
May 2009)
ZINASU has ioined the Iray. agitating Ior the deportation oI Mugabe`s daughter. As a
students` body, they seem to have genuine concerns. They are an interested party, bearing the
brunt oI Mugabe`s ruinous economic policies aIIecting their Iundamental right to education.
64
They are compelled to pay for their education in United States dollars currency, in a nation
where there is over 90% unemployment, with the remaining employed workers paid in the
worthless currency eroded by galloping hyperinflation. In the midst of this, Mugabe deems it
fit to have his daughter educated in Hong Kong. According to http://www.swradioafrica.com
another prominent news website, ZINASU launched their campaign on 26
th
January, 2009.
SWRA is in the same league as Zimdaily, in that it has numerous media platforms: a thriving
internet radio station, mobile phone texting and podcasting services. The site goes on to
reproduce ZINASU`s petition to the Chinese Embassy in Harare. demanding the immediate
return oI Mugabe`s daughter to Zimbabwe. A critical deconstructive analysis oI sections of
the petition is ideal:
(ZINASU), representing the students of Zimbabwe calls for the return of Bona
Mugabe, the daughter of President Mugabe back home to come and suffer with other
patriotic students studying in State Universities. It is disheartening to note that the
first family insolently sent daughter Bona Mugabe under an assumed name to the
University of Hong Kong, China to further her studies while students in Zimbabwe
suffer.
Colleges and Universities in the country have failed to open since 2008 amongst other
reasons, exorbitant and dollarization of fees, lecturers striking over poor
remuneration, serious brain drain of staff resulting in students failing to sit for
examinations. (http://www.swradioafrica.com May 2009)
In the preceding excerpt, new media can be seen to be taking on the role that old media was
supposed to have in exposing scandal and corruption and lobbying for change.
It is not clear whether Hong Kong authorities will comply with activists` demands. When
asked for a comment, a University official at Hong Kong University responded:
65
We believe that education should be above politics and young people should not be
denied the right to education because of their family background or what their parents
have done`. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk May 2009
Incidentally, these remarks echoes what one of the affected young people themselves had
posted. It is significant to point out how the efforts of an online organisation have made
people in official positions engage with the whole argument. Although it is unclear whether
ZINASU`s campaign will yield its desired results. important observations can be drawn
especially on the role being played by new media in keeping in the spotlight contentious
issues, which it is hoped may force Politicians to become more accountable to their
constituency, the people.

5.4 Assault on Democracy`: Morgan Tsvangirai`s Assault - A Case Study
In a telephone interview, I conducted with Wilf Mbanga veteran Journalist and Editor of
http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk, he cited two significant events, which he conceded
showed the great chasm between independent` publications and pro-establishment forces
when reporting on similar events. Two conspicuous events were the assault of then
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and civic leaders in 2007, and coverage of the
Presidential election in 2008. A close textual analysis of the two stories as covered by both
independent` and pro-establishment forces is ideal.
Frantz Fanon talks of violence as a weapon at the disposal of the hegemony to buttress their
authority.
20
As already mentioned, Mugabe constantly uses the coercive power of violence as

20
. According to Frantz Fanon: Post Colonial theorist, the violence and force of post-colonial rule mimics
colonial rule. Mugabe has relied on violence to keep him in power (my own words). In Fanon`s view. escaping
this predicament requires a new postcolonial identity that would find expression through the development of
66
a political tool. In March 2007, Morgan Tsvangirai was brutally assaulted by the police,
together with civic activists as they sought to attend a banned` prayer meeting in Harare.
Images of a badly bruised Tsvangirai with one blinded eye streaming with blood were
beamed around the world. What is significant about this brutal assault is the diverse ways it
was covered by pro-establishment media and independent voices. Whereas independent`
sites strove to show police brutality and heavy-handedness, state media through the Herald
and ZTV-Newsnet site sought to exonerate the police, apportioning blame to Tsvangirai and
fellow activists for instigating violence. Useful parallels can be drawn with Iran. A similar
scenario is prevailing in Iran in the wake oI the recent electoral Iraud`. Pro- democracy
forces have used the internet to highlight tyranny and police brutality in unparalleled ways.
InIact. there are many glaring similarities between Mugabe`s stiIling oI democratic voices
and that of his Iranian counterpart. The diverse ways pro-democracy activists have responded
harnessing the internet to champion democracy is equally illuminating.
Language as discourse becomes a powerful weapon.
For instance, police spokesperson, Bvudzijena, always one to repeat the official line as is the
norm with the partisan police force in Zimbabwe, was unflattering in his comments on the
assaulted MDC leader and activists, blatantly accusing them of instigating a fight with the
police although eye witness accounts pointed to the contrary. Bvudzijena said: Tsvangirai
and his entourage (assaulted whilst in police custody) had been arrested because they had:
instigated people to come out and commit acts oI violence.`(http://www.newsnet.co.zw
21

May 2009). Even in the face of a fatal police shooting which claimed the life of one
opposition activist. GiIt Tandare. Bvudziiena claimed: the Iatal shooting happened when

positive representations in cultural practices, such as literature, drama, and film/media. (Probert D and Graham
A, 2008: 19)
21
. http: //www.newsnet.co.zw Newsnet website is another arm of the Public Media in Zimbabwe which
works in tandem with the state owned daily: The Herald newspaper. In most instances, stories from the site are
replicated in The Herald. Newsnet site usually toes the party line by reflecting its ideology and government
thinking.
67
200 opposition party thugs` attacked about 20 policemen.` (http://www.newsnet.co.zw
May 2009). Appearing on state television, Bvudzijena maintained: three police officers had
been taken to hospital, following an attack on them by MDC activists. He warned of dire
consequences to befall those who continue to flout laws of the land in the name of political
violence.
Language is deployed as a power discourse in the schism between the hegemony and
populace. In a democracy, Police should be professional and not align with politicians as
happens in Zimbabwe. Here. however. police spokespersons` bias is too palpable to be
missed. Fairclough`s comments on discourse as social practice is instructive. and helps us to
appreciate the unholy alliance between politicians and state machinery in an authoritarian
regime: Hegemony concerns power that is achieved through constructing alliances and
integrating classes and groups through consent, so that the articulation and re-articulation of
orders of discourse is correspondingly one stake in hegemonic struggle` (Fairclough. 1992:
93). Mugabe has mastered this well, if the rapport between his system of governance, police
force and other arms of government is anything to go by. In a dictatorship, it is often difficult
to draw a distinction between party and government structures. State media institutions,
which are supposed to uphold the Public Service Remit, are unashamedly biased in favour of
the ruling party of the day. Many a times, Mugabe and government officials abuse state
media to further party political interests to the exclusion of other voices. It is only now with
the proliferation of diverse new media platforms that other voices can be heard empowering
activists, which is one of the objectives of this study.



68
5.5 Coverage of the 2008 Presidential Elections - Diversity of Opinion or Polarised
Viewpoints?
Besides employing older forms of media such as its flagship daily, The Herald, the regime in
Harare has also been using newer forms of media: news websites, some of them covert like
http://www.talkzimbabwe.com renamed The Zimbabwe Guardian. I terminated my interview
with the Editor of this site before I had the chance to conduct the interview as he became
intrusive about my precise personal details. Issues of safety being paramount, it seemed
expedient not to pursue a potentially dangerous source. Articles from the site will be pre-
viewed to shed light on how new media platforms can also be manipulated by the hegemony
to buttress their authority.
The polarisation in viewpoints in the coverage of the 2008 Presidential election in
Zimbabwe among the diverse news websites is shown in the discrepancy in news stories.
There appears to be a well orchestrated ploy to exclude certain stories at the expense of others
receiving prominence, depending on the political allegiance of the sites in question.
Illustrative of this is in one instance; The Zimbabwe Guardian site goes on an all out war
castigating BBC, sanctimoniously admonishing it should desist from fanning flames of war in
Zimbabwe:
Zimbabwe has been a very peaceful country before the coming of Mr Tsvangirai as a
political leader. He came from the British to disturb the government of President
Mugabe because of his land reform. Mr Tsvangirai is a rebel whom the British want
to use and kill Mugabe to take the land from the blacks and hand it over to the white
minority again.

69
Mr Tsvangirai`s Iorm oI democracy is rebellious. Listening to the BBC radio. I heard
President Dos Santos of Angola calling for Mugabe to stop the violence whereas the
perpetrator is clearly Mr Tsvangirai, who seems to be scheming to get money for the
acquisition of arms and probably dole out some of it to his family abroad.
(http://www.talkzimbabwe.com May 2009)
This excerpt is illuminating in showing how the regime is now employing cyberspace
responding to online challenges. Mugabe has never hidden his contempt for the opposition
MDC whom he constantly dismisses as a creation and puppet` oI the British. Such a
propagandistic viewpoint has been constantly replicated in the state media and is now finding
its way online.

5.6 New media: Constant critique, even of the critics
The role of new media in fostering democracy in a new dispensation: Government of
National Unity (GNU) previously referred to in chapter 4, seem to have polarised the
democratic` voices Iurther apart. The new dispensation has brought to the Iore Iissures and
cracks amongst the diverse news websites, activists and peers. To hold the new Prime
Minister and government policies to scrutiny and accountability or not, has been a key
concern. The public sphere has remained vibrant in the meantime, with columnists, writers,
and activists going further, debating the media`s role in upholding democracy in a new order.
Some news websites and columnists believe Tsvangirai is sacrosanct and that it is unpatriotic
and counter-productive to the spirit of the GNU to criticise his shortcomings as a Leader.
There is an interesting play on linguistic discourse. reminiscent oI Fairclough`s points. with
words such as: the national interest` and spirit oI unity` being bandied around as power
discourse.
70

The legitimate role of the media in a democracy should be to strive to make politicians
accountable and transparent. A hero-worshipping media sanctioned Mugabe`s dictatorship in
post independence Zimbabwe. Writer/commentator, Tendai Dumbutshena has been
castigated by peers Ior being unsympathetic to the spirit oI unity` and new government` by
constantly criticising Tsvangirai and his MDC party as ineffectual partners in the GNU. In
one article: MDC now content with ZANU PF iniustice.`
(http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com May 2009), Dumbutshena laments the impotence and
Iailure oI the new Prime Minister Tsvangirai to conIront Mugabe`s dictatorship in relation to
human rights abuses being perpetrated against opposition supporters. Dumbutshena urges the
MDC to pull out of this charade of a GNU as it is unlikely they will ever succeed in turning
things around, with Mugabe at the helm. In a show of vibrancy of the public sphere some
contributors take exception with Dumbutshena`s viewpoint. with one peer remarking:
This debate is now narrowing to individuals at the expense of national discourse. I
totally agree with Tendai, but if we narrow our debate to Tsvangirai and Mugabe, we
will be playing into the hands of the actual authors of this tragi-comedy, the
securocrats. Issues like this need cool-headed approach not childish tantrums of
calling for a pull out at every glitch.
I humbly suggest brother Tendai articulate his best way forward after the pull out.
(http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com - May 2009)
Some further postings made by peers were libellous and defamatory of the writer: I deemed
it inappropriate to quote them. What is important to draw from such intolerance, coming from
activists` purporting to champion democracy is to draw to the fore the acutely polarised
nature of diverse voices failing to get common ground on the volatile public sphere. Anyone
71
can express authoritarian views in cyberspace but equally, pro-democracy movements do not
always practice what they preach. Such intolerance does not bode well Ior activists` trying to
Ioster democracy in an authoritarian online environment. Questions abound: are activists`
spurred by genuine democratic values, or are there ulterior motives at play? And, does the
internet simply make it easier for anyone to critique anyone else rather than making rational
arguments heard?
Writing in The Internet. Mobile Phones and Blogging.` Rena Bivens raises pertinent issues:
New media enables the potential for boundless discussion among the public,
engagement with new media by news organisations.
At the same time however, information overload inevitably leads to filtering and
potential group polarisation of views, both which fragment audiences and contradict
the democratising function supposedly inherent within new media.
(Bivens, 2008: 113)
Group polarisation oI views is the case with Zimbabwe`s disparate voices as they employ
new media platforms in a quest for democracy. News websites are so polarised one can
discern the thinly veiled hate language directed against each other, peers, columnists and the
individual personalities they purport to serve. It is not uncommon to note some online news
sites being labelled pro-Tsvangirai/pro-Mugabe. The irony is that such sites are supposed to
be promoting democratic discourse, but in practice, they are intolerant of opposing views like
the very monster they are castigating: Mugabe`s dictatorship. This inadvertently has a bearing
on the quality of the public sphere.


72
In another article Dumbutshena opines:
There are those who wish to repeat mistakes of the 1980s by placing this new inclusive
government above criticism. They argue, it should be given a chance to succeed. Those
who incessantly criticize it like this columnist are dismissed as unhelpful doomsayers.
Obvious shortcomings of the inclusive government must be ignored. Naïve optimism
must prevail. Let bygones be bygones.. (http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com May
2009)
Dumbutshena`s remarks are instructive especially in highlighting questions about what
should be the legitimate role of the media in a democracy. Its guiding principle should be
serving the public, and acting as a democratic watchdog, which role various new media
platforms have been facilitating in the struggle against tyranny in Zimbabwe. In line with
one of my theoretical framework: critical theory, - it is worth mentioning how in some
cases the media does not always fulfil this legitimate purpose as its an ideological tool
subject to the whims oI the hegemony as is the case with Zimbabwe`s state owned media.
In such instances, the media has the power to select what to represent as reality and what to
exclude. New media has largely sought to play a deflective role countering the state owned
media`s brazen partisanship.

5.7 The Fourth Estate and the Public Sphere
Reporting on the contested political terrain oI Zimbabwe has highlighted the Iourth estate`s
pre-occupation with framing narratives in particular ways and reporting facts only as they
fit within those narrative frames. In most instances, this has amounted to a culture of
speculative journalism, in which stories are published with unnamed sources and no by
lines.
73
One pro-establishment site http://www.talkzimbabwe.com is notorious for peddling stories
which border on fiction, speculation or gossip dressed as news. One salient story they ran
was: Tsvangirai attends EU meeting in Brussels.` At the purported time oI Tsvangirai`s
attendance of this meeting, in December 2008, he had no passport, as the regime was
denying him one. Tsvangirai had taken the issue up with the courts in Zimbabwe. What is
significant is why a news website could blatantly peddle falsehoods: and the answer in this
instance is that it probably serves to reinIorce the hegemony`s propaganda that Tsvangirai
is a puppet` oI the West. and they can do anything. even Iacilitate travel Ior him. when he
has no passport.
Equally paradoxical is that the very same publication which claims Tsvangirai was in
Brussels over the weekend, in an about turn of events, barely three weeks after this
supposed visit`. publishes yet another article: Tsvangirai receives his passport.` in which
they do acknowledge the MDC leader had been without a passport for over a year. No
retraction of the earlier story is made. It is therefore inconceivable how the MDC leader
would have managed to travel to Europe without a passport.
Gappah cynically remarks: I believe that the collective purpose of the press in Zimbabwe,
both the private and public media, both print and online publications is to obfuscate and not
to enlighten, to speculate and not to report, to dissemble and not to inform, and above all,
to make us all pawns in their games of one-upmanship.`
(http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com May 2009). This study has striven to show the
extent to which new media has been central in trying to foster democracy in a repressive
environment. The quality of news reports by some of the news sites cited, the acrimonious
debate generated in the online public sphere, can to some extent align these sites to
Gappa`s viewpoint. especially their bid to create personality cults among leaders.
74
5.8 SW Radio Af rica - Texting to Beat Zimbabwe`s Censors
In seeking to shed light on the input of New media in promoting/hindering democracy in a
repressive environment, how new media platforms have sought to empower ordinary
people, the story would be incomplete without referring to http://www.swradioafrica.com .
(SWRA) has a news website and runs an online radio station deemed Pirate` by the regime
in Harare. Run by Gerry Jackson and former Journalists from Zimbabwe, it broadcasts
from London. Ms Jackson set up the first ever private radio station Capitol Radio in Harare
in 2000 but it was forcibly closed by the police and her broadcasting equipment seized.
The site has perfected the use of mobile phone technology as a tool to promote activism
and fight authoritarian regimes in Zimbabwe, even though they are operating miles away.
SWRA facilitates the sending of text messages to anyone in Zimbabwe, provided
Zimbabweans upload their Iriends`/relatives` numbers on the site. which then sends
news/pertinent stories to those in Zimbabwe. This is an excellent way to beat the harsh
media laws and censorship in Zimbabwe. According to SWRA founder, Gerry Jackson, the
daily sms headline service has proved popular with 100 new requests a day for those
wanting to join the service. (http://www.news.bbc.co.uk May 2009).

5.9 Dictatorship - Deali ng With Online Challenges
Authorities in Harare have responded to SW radio broadcasts by using jamming equipment
obtained from China. The sophisticated jamming equipment prevents broadcasts from
being transmitted to listeners in Zimbabwe. In some instances, broadcasts are inaudible or
totally wiped out. Broadcast Journalist, Lance Guma concedes:
75
The Zimbabwe government invested many thousands of pounds in Chinese
equipment to be used in jamming SWRA shortwave broadcasts. Even after the
station moved to medium wave they switched to jamming another Zimbabwean
station: Voice of the People which broadcasts to Zimbabwe via Radio Netherlands.
(http://www.swradioafrica.com May 2009)
To counteract the regime`s moves. SWRA have had to operate on multiple Irequencies.
and recently introduced a text messaging service as a complementary effort. Text
messaging has been highly successful in disseminating news to the ordinary people in
Zimbabwe where most households own a mobile phone.
The regime has also adopted various measures: the state has set up a short wave
propaganda radio station. Voice oI Zimbabwe` operating Irom Gweru. However. the
radio project appears to have suffered a still birth, in the face of self-jamming as a result of
gagging equipment installed to block broadcasts from foreign radio stations such as Voice
oI America`s Studio 7.` (http://www.thezimbabweindependent.com May 2009)
Mugabe has also signed into law the Interception of Communications Act which empowers
government to spy on messages transmitted through the telecommunications system, cell
phones and the internet. Internet Service Providers are obliged to install software that
allows the monitoring to happen secretly. (http://www.thezimbabweindependent.com
May 2009) Whether such a move will succeed remains to be seen as media savvy activists
have initiated publicity campaigns highlighting diverse ways to circumvent Mugabe`s
anachronistic ideas. Already, activists are encouraging use of counteracting softwares:
Psiphon and Tor.
One other way the regime has responded to online and offline challenges can be seen in the
way they launched a sinister campaign: Operation Dzikisai Madhishi (pull down your
76
satellite dishes) in April 2008, following Mugabe`s deIeat in the March 29 Presidential
elections. Zimbabweans were coerced under threat of violence to pull down their home
satellite dishes through which the maiority have been able to access Etv. SABC. Botswana
TV and DSTV channel. (http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk May 2009). War veterans and
secret police were drafted in to enforce this campaign. It became much more bizarre when
the enIorcers started impounding radios Irom people`s households ostensibly to prevent
them from listening to independent radio stations broadcasting outside Zimbabwe. As one
MDC official summed it at the time:
This operation is a concerted effort by the regime to close all spaces through which
information can be disseminated, with the objective of stealing the impending run-
off election.
The regime is determined to cut off Zimbabweans from the rest of the world by
ensuring that they are unable to receive news from outside Zimbabwe about what is
happening in their own country. (http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk May 2009)
The very fact that the regime has responded to the diverse challenges posed by new media
bodes well for the potential impact of these platforms. They must be doing something
positive, getting the desired effect, if the hegemony have seen it worthwhile to invest huge
sums of money in counteractive measures. However, equally, the more successful they are,
the more danger there is to their survival as free and uncensored sources.
In summation, this chapter has striven to shed light on the varying levels to which new
media have assisted in fostering democracy, opening up spaces for the populace to express
their opinions in the process, as they actively debate and argue contested issues. The
ambivalent nature of new media has also been considered, especially how it can be
manipulated by those in power to subvert democracy and perpetuate tyrannical viewpoints.
77
Diverse ways in which mainstream and pro dictatorship forces are responding to online
challenges have been reviewed. Although I have tended to concentrate on news websites,
most of these have either an attendant sister newspaper or online radio station which
complement their eIIort. Readers` Iorums are also a useful barometer which has helped me
gauge the vibrancy of the public sphere online.
It is also instructive to note that most of the websites I have used in this study (other than
the pro-regime site http://www.talkzimbabwe.com and the regime`s very own
http://www.newsnet.co.zw ) have been blacklisted by the Zimbabwe government as it
claims the sites are bent on promoting cyber-war to effect regime change agenda against
Mugabe. (http://www.thezimbabweindepent.com May 2009) A total of 41 websites have
been listed, though the regime has not indicated what form of action it will pursue with
regard to these oIIending` sites.









78
Chapter 6 - Conclusion
A central focus of this study has been to describe, understand and take a critical look at the
role played by new media in fostering democracy in parts of Africa, especially repressive
regimes as is my main case study Zimbabwe. This has been done through an appraisal of
various platforms facilitated by new media, ie blogging, e mail, mobile phones, text
messaging and online news websites among others. A wealth of information and detail has
been offered on the subject under investigation, which it is envisaged will form the basis for
new insights and interpretations. This strikes a chord with one framework of my research
methodology, critical discourse analysis, where instead of coming up with definitive clear cut
answers, useful insights for future investigation are drawn.
In trying to shed light on the input of new media in aiding/or undermining democracy in
authoritarian regimes several issues have arisen: whereas new media platforms can be put to
good use, promoting democracy, good governance and observance of human rights and the
rule of law, it is not plain, simple and clear cut that this is what always happens, either in
western or in African nations. New media in the hands of the unscrupulous can still be abused
and manipulated to undermine people`s Ireedoms. Those in positions oI power can especially
manipulate new media platforms to consolidate their power base. It has been noted in the
study how mainstream and pro-dictatorship forces are responding to online challenges
utilising both older and newer forms of media. In the case of Zimbabwe, a catalogue of
counteracting measures adopted by the despotic regime have been highlighted, some as
bizarre as forcing people to pull down their satellite dishes and also confiscating their radios.
New media, civil society actors and citizen journalists have also sought to promote
democracy in many respects as demonstrated in the case studies in chapters 4 and 5. It is clear
from the study that dynamic and ideologically opposed new media groups have emerged in
79
Zimbabwe. On the one hand we have pro-Mugabe websites such as the regime`s
http://www.newsnet.co.zw and http://www.talkzimbabwe.com. These seek to legitimise and
consolidate the dictatorship, advancing its ideology in the process. Then there is a plethora of
independent` online news websites which strives to tell the other side` oI the story. although
further examination has revealed how disparate these independent voices` can become as
they struggle for control of what emerges as a kind of Habermasian public sphere. In the
midst of this, comes to the fore a central question: what should be the role of all media both
in a democracy and a dictatorship: to continue to be manipulated as an instrument of
oppression against the people or be a democratic watchdog?
The blogging phenomenon has revealed its immense potential as the platform for democracy
especially as seen through the success stories of the campaigns with the German Company:
Giesecke and Devrient and Austro-Hungarian Jura JSP Software License campaigns dealt
with extensively in chapter 4. Extensive analysis of articles and postings from the alternative
blogs shows the vibrancy and potency of online activism. Such success stories can be
regarded as a befitting microcosm of the platform in furthering the democratic discourse.
Although the regime has been employing diverse methods to confront online challenges, I did
not come across any evidence of their using blogging as a counteractive measure/strategy.
Notwithstanding their shortcomings and paradoxes, new media platforms such as the plethora
of news websites examined have actually empowered the populace in their fight against
tyranny by giving them space to voice critiques and acquire information, by articulating
viewpoints that previously could not have been possible to publicise given the harsh media
environment in Zimbabwe. SWRA`s headline news text messaging service, and radio
broadcasts among other services springs to mind. The recent electoral successes which have
seen the monolithic giant Mugabe defeated in elections is perhaps one living testimony to the
potency of new media platforms.
80
The radical political content carried on some of the websites stresses resistance to dominant
viewpoints and models the campaign against repression. Overall, the majority of the websites
have considerably reduced the traditional gate-keeping role that the mainstream state
controlled media have enjoyed over the past two decades. This is evidenced by the unearthing
of cases of corruption, abuse of power and human rights violations, which could otherwise
have remained concealed. (Moyo, 2007: 101)
Challenges and limitations remain however. As has been pointed out, the Internet is no longer
the preserve of democrats alone, because of its accessibility, it can therefore fall into the
hands of anyone and there is a real danger it can be manipulated to undermine democracy and
the democratic discourse just as mainstream media can. This is a legitimate concern with
despots whose prime concern is upholding their power at all costs. To this end, I have been
wary not to eulogise new media platforms. I have consistently referred to the dangers of
rhetoric and political demagogy with the ruling elite and even activists` as both groups are
motivated by pursuit of group interests which may be far removed in reality from democracy
and its values. In most instances there end up being chasms between rhetoric and reality even
in strongly egalitarian or pro-democratic forces. The shortcomings of the erstwhile opposition
party in Zimbabwe, the MDC now in government as part of the GNU have been noted in
analysis in both chapter 4 and 5.
In all this, it is important not to lose sight of what should be the legitimate role of the media
old and new, be it in a democracy or even a repressive regime. Ideally, the media should be a
democratic watchdog safeguarding democracy and its values, exposing abuses of power and
providing space for debates over governance and civil society issues. This incidentally is
reminiscent oI one oI my theoretical strands: Habermas`s conception oI the media in the
democratisation function. Habermas argues that when the media lose their autonomy to the
state or the market, then they can no longer be regarded as playing a critical function of
81
democratisation and keeping the state in touch with the needs oI society` (Habermas. 1992:
31).
The polarised nature oI the democratic` voices as they vie Ior control oI the public sphere
does not bode well for democracy. As Frantz Fanon notes, in many cases the elite amongst
oppressed groups end up adopting characteristics of the oppressor (Probert and Graham 2008:
19). The disparate voices seem to lack tolerance of alternative views, one of the very evils
they are castigating in Mugabe`s dictatorship. In the end. news websites. Ior instance.
sometimes end up pursuing personality cults, aligned to individual political leaders of their
preferred choice.
Speculative journalism also dents the credibility of information published on some of the
aIorementioned websites as highlighted in my analysis. Indeed. iI iournalism is history`s Iirst
draft, then Zimbabwe is in trouble (Gappah, http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com May
2009).
That there are numerous possibilities in new media and related platforms in enhancing
democracy in repressive regimes is not in question, as the study has striven to show. The
recent events in Zimbabwe which have witnessed the regime suffering huge electoral losses,
making political concessions to the opposition, albeit minimal, is a vindication for the
immense potential of new media and the persistence of those who use it. Although I am not
an advocate of the so called GNU or power sharing arrangements in Africa, nonetheless the
very existence of one in Zimbabwe may be celebrated if at all there is a slim chance it can
rescue the country from the dark age of repression, dictatorship, political and economic
oblivion. In the same vein, new media should continue to maintain a reality check on the
GNU and the ruling elite. Checks and balances should be in place to prevent the ruling elite
from manipulating both older and newer forms of media to undermine democracy and
82
peoples` inalienable rights to Ireedom. Thus the media should play its legitimate role in a
democracy to avoid the mistakes of yester-year. Activists should continue to raise the banner
of democracy, good governance, observance of human rights and respect for the rule of law
in the public sphere and civil society. Tolerance and respect for alternative views is called
for, as these are the hallmarks of democracy.















83
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89
Web References

The following is a list of websites viewed and used in the course of my research:

Online News Websites:
www.bbc.co.uk
www.civicweb.eu
www.newsbbc.co.uk
www.guardian.co.uk
www.herald.co.zw
www.news24.com
www.newsnet.co.zw
www.newzimbabwe.com
www.swradioafrica.com
www.telegraph.co.uk
www.timesonline.co.uk
www.talkzimbabwe.com
www.thezimbabwetimes.com
www.thezimbabwean.co.uk
www.thezimbabweindependent.com
www.zimdaily.com
www.zimbabwesituation.com



90
General Websites:
www.misazim.co.zw
www.en.wikipedia.org
www.dniinoi.wordpress.com

Blogs Used in my research:
http://www.kubatanablogs.net
http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe



91
Appendices
Appendix 1- Action Plan/or Programme as espoused by bloggers on the blog:
http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe - April 2009
ACTI ON: We are calling on all our supporters and subscribers to phone, email and write to
Giesecke & Devrient and demand that they immediately suspend their contract with the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. We want them to stem the flow of Bavarian blood-money to
Zimbabwe, and to give the Zimbabwean people a chance to survive, to heal, and to determine
their own future without fearing for their lives.
Things are starting to move. We need to keep up the pressure.
Giesecke & Devrient now need to be put under external pressure into reconsidering their
contract with Robert Mugabe`s Regime. Governments and Giesecke & Devrient`s corporate
partners need to be reminded oI Giesecke & Devrient`s role.
Write to, or telephone, Giesecke & Devrient. Thank them for reconsidering their
actions. Remind them that the world is watching, and that they take care to follow the
law by making their actions consistent with their code of conduct. See the letter
suggestions provided here -
Politely point out to Giesecke & Devrient that a stain on a company`s reputation can
last a very long time indeed. Send them the link that appeared in the Australian media
today and reminds the world of how Giesecke & Devrient got very rich under the
Nazi party and even used slave labour supplied by Heinrich Himmler from prisoners
in concentration camps. Giesecke & Devrient have only recently had to pay
compensation to these poor people; do they want another stain so soon?
92
Write to the World Bank at civilsociety@worldbank.org
Write to the press and point out the relationship between the Governor of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe and JOC
A readers` letter in response to the news stories going about this may also be
effective. See the story links in the original post and send your responses to these
stories to the newspapers concerned
Write to European leaders about the responsibility of European companies, and the
questionable legality of their actions. Raise the issue of the World Bank policy and
guidelines. Ask them to urgently review the subject of trade sanctions to include
Giesecke & Devrient`s banknote paper which props up the regime
II you`re a European citizen, write to your MEP. Find your MEP here - (please send
us links to other resources like this one for other parts of the world)

93
Appendix 2 - Agents of Civic Training, Sample Letter Drafted by Bloggers
Letter adapted from:
http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe - April 2009

Letters:
Please feel free to write your own letters if you wish to, or use ours and adjust to include your
own words, or simply send them as they are. This letter has also been translated into German.
Dear Dr. Ottenberg, Dr. Zattler, Dr. Schlebusch, Mr. Wolfgang Kunz,
Mr. Kuemmerle and Mr. Mihatsch:
Please accept this letter as protest against Giesecke & Devrient`s involvement in sustaining
the activities of the Zimbabwean government.
We note that one of the guiding principles included in the Code of Conduct on Giesecke &
Devrient`s website is to 'respect the personal dignity, privacy, and rights of every individual,
regardless oI their origin. nationality. culture. religion. or gender.¨ We believe that this
principle, in relation to Zimbabwean civilians, is compromised by the contract Giesecke &
Devrient has with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to print banknotes.
The Reserve Bank is headed by Gideon Gono, one of five individuals making up the Joint
Operational Command (JOC), which is responsible for coordinating and carrying out a
94
multitude of human rights violations against civilians. Gideon Gono`s responsibility is to
finance the terror, using notes supplied by Giesecke & Devrient. A UN Security Council
statement issued on 23 June 2008 makes it very clear that the Government of Zimbabwe is
responsible for the violence in Zimbabwe.
On 22 June, the MDC party in Zimbabwe withdrew from an election scheduled to be held on
the 27th June. They said: 'We in the MDC cannot ask |Zimbabweans| to cast their vote on
June 27 when that vote will cost them their liIe.¨ On the same day. an international
newspaper provided one example of how money is used in Zimbabwe to fund terror: it
reported that a bounty oI £12.500 was placed on an MDC district councillor`s head. The
article stated that this equates to approximately Z$25 trillion - notes supplied by Giesecke &
Devrient.
In addition to this single example, we must point out that the money Giesecke & Devrient
prints is being used every single day to pay war veterans and youth militia deployed to beat,
torture, and intimidate Zimbabwean civilians. This has resulted in approximately 3,000 cases
of political violence (including grotesque torture), and more than 200,000 people who have
been internally displaced from their homes in the two months following the March 29th
elections. Nearly 90 people have been murdered, including a woman who had both her arms
and her legs cut off before she was thrown still alive into a burning hut.
We believe that Giesecke & Devrient`s contract with the Reserve Bank oI Zimbabwe is
complicit in these acts of terror in that it enables Gideon Gono to fulfil his role in the Joint
Operational Command. We believe that the continued supply of banknotes to the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe is playing a critical platform in sustaining a despotic regime.
We remind you that the Government of Zimbabwe has stopped the activities of many
humanitarian organisations in Zimbabwe, critical for providing sustenance to desperate
95
Zimbabweans. We were horrified to read in a major newspaper article (in March) that
Giesecke & Devrient earns approximately £382,000 (US$750 000) of Zimbabwean
taxpayers` money a week to print banknotes Ior the Zimbabwean government.
Please be advised that 1 bag of ground maize meal, the staple diet in Zimbabwe, equates to
roughly US$1, 80 per kg, about £1 per kg. A 10 kg bag would feed a child for a week if that
child was eating two meals a day. Most children only get one meal a day, if they are lucky.
This means that the money Giesecke & Devrient earns to print money that bankrolls the Zanu
PF regime`s terror. translates to food for approximately 76,400 children every week.
We ask that you consider this letter in light oI Giesecke & Devrient`s guiding principles and
in light of the many statements condemning the activities of the Zimbabwean Government
emanating from the UN, SADC and many other regional and international governments and
human rights organisations. In particular, Genocide Watch issued a statement on the 19 June
2008 saying 'ZANU-PF militias, the Zimbabwe army and police, and ZANU-PF mobs have
pushed Zimbabwe to Stage 6, the Preparation stage immediately preceding political mass
murder.¨ This is not iust an issue oI corporate social responsibility. but a question oI whether
Giesecke & Devrient will or will not serve as a willing financer of politicide.
We ask that Giesecke & Devrient suspends their contract with the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe immediately.
Yours Sincerely,
96
Appendix 3 - Action Alert: Lobby Jura JSP to suspend or not renew thei r software
License to the Zimbabwe Government.
Action: We are calling on all our supporters and subscribers today to phone, email and write
to Jura JSP and ask them to withdraw the software licence from the Zimbabwean government
on the grounds that the cash they print has been used to primarily support a campaign of
terror, and on the grounds that preferential treatment is given to the armed forces when it
comes to accessing cash. Both these facts show that the Zanu PF regime is using money to
buy the loyalty and support of the armed forces. It clearly shows that this is a government that
prioritises power and control over the people, more than it is concerned with the fact that
ordinary people are struggling to survive.
We need to keep up the pressure.
Jura JSP is a small company so if we can accumulate as many contact details as possible we
can contact individuals directly. Please seek out details and submit them via our form here
and we will add them to our database.
Write to, or telephone, Jura JSP.
Contact the Austrian and Hungarian media to make sure they are aware of what is
happening in Zimbabwe and how software originating from their nations is helping to
support it.
Targetted sanctions against the Zimbabwean government have recently been reviewed
by the EU so Zimbabwe is fresh in their minds. Write to European leaders about the
responsibility of European companies, and the questionable ethics of their actions.
Ask them to review the subiect oI trade sanctions to include Jura JSP`s soItware
licence to print blood money.
97
Write to the press and point out the relationship between the Governor of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe and JOC [a reminder of that relationship can be found here in our
Giesecke & Devrient post here].
If you see an article appearing in a newspaper in your country, discussing the Jura JSP
connection to Zimbabwe, respond to it: send a letter to the editor and make him or her
aware that this is a topical and important issue. We will add links relevant articles in
this post.
Contact your local MPs and your local press as well.
II you`re a European citizen. write to your MEP. Find your MEP here - (please send
us links to other resources like this one for other parts of the world).









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