President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba has accused the Zimbabwe Independent of lying that Vice President Constantino was forced by the anger of Chilonga people to reschedule his meeting.
The publication which is part of Alpha Media Holdings claimed that Chiwenga ended up holding a private meeting with the local leadership in Triangle instead of Chilonga after the leadership had exhibited anger over the government’s plan to evict them from ancestral lands to pave way for irrigation projects. Charamba said:
TICHITI TIKATI FAMBE-FAMBE TOFUMURA NHEMA DZEMAPEPA ABABA TREVOR NCUBE, HANDITI? (We must here and there expose the lies of Trevor Ncube’s papers) AMH flagship publication, Zimbabwe Independent, today led with a “story” which groans with lies, absolute lies that can only damage the paper’s claim to flagship status, and of course the publisher’s standing.
From headline to meat of the fabrication, the effort takes immense liberties with truth. Here is how:1) The headline expressly claims the VP was scheduled to visit Chilonga, which is untrue;2) The body of the tale claims 12 000 villagers face eviction to make way for a Lucerne grass programme, again a stale untruth;3) The body of the ‘story’ claims villagers in Chilonga want offer letters in respect of Communal Land, which is inexcusable ignorance on land tenure policy as it relates to COMMUNAL LAND;4) The body of the yarn claims VP Chiwenga met village headmen and chiefs only in a “closed-door” meeting in a STADIUM!!!! How a stadium gets a door, both literally and figuratively, only tellers of tall tales can tell!!!5) The tale claims the Lucerne Project will cover 12 940 hectares, suggesting each villager in the sparsely populated Chilonga occupies about or just over a hectare, contrary to the pattern of settlements in most communal areas, least of all one so sparsely populated like Chilonga!!!6) The fictitious narrative claims traditional leaders gave VP a torrid time during the “closed-door” meeting in a wide stadium, when they demanded offer letters over COMMUNAL LAND!!!7) The never-never story claims Govt used “Chief” Tshovani in respect of land under Chief Sengwe; well, there is only one chief called Sengwe; the rest are headmen presently, which is why part of VP’s message was to upgrade the headmen to Chiefs!!!!! Matter-of-factly, VP Chiwenga only met Chief Sengwe in person to consult on that new proposal to upgrade headmen under him.The rest of the traditional leadership was met in an open tent in a stadium alongside many other leaders who included MPs, councillors, service chiefs and Govt officials who included the writer! As it transpired from consultations, Chief Sengwe confessed his real land and jurisdiction in terms of tradition was in Gezani area, not in the area in question where he was thrust there by colonial settlers after all Shangaan-speaking communities were evicted from Mwenezi. Trevor’s Un-Zimbabwe Independent does not know that!!!!8) The paper restates that only traditional leaders met VP Chiwenga; the accompanying picture exposes the emptiness of that claim co-manufactured by some Chikutu informant who was completely invisible at, and inconsequential in the meeting, assuming he attended it. Interestingly, journalists covered all the proceedings, with ZimInd showing by its conspicuous absence!!!The flag-canoe newspaper claims VP Chiwenga sought to placate irate Chilonga villagers through fresh allocations for Kilimanjaro Cane Project; in reality, the VP was sent by His Excellency the President to announce a nullification of the list of beneficiaries for Kilimanjaro so a new one consistent with the policy of local beneficiation is drawn up for sight and approval by the Presidency!!!
9) The paper fraudulently refers to an amended Statutory Instrument to present it as if it is the reigning law!!! The paper will not allow even the law to stand in the way of a good yarn!!! Instead the story suggests a stale SI and the extant one “were used to grab land from villagers”!!! To date, no land has been alienated whether by law or physically. Indeed, no land will be alienated when the development scheme takes place!!!
Upon my return from Chiredzi, I did a long thread well ahead of the Zimbabwe Independent which publishes on Friday. All the facts were placed in the public domain, including images from that meeting. Equally, media across the divide covered the story; that included NewsDay, sister paper to Zimbabwe Independent.
Significantly, the whole yarn draws from this one source, VHELEMU LEVISON CHIKUTU whose presence and status in the meeting I have already stated. Yet the paper’s yarn admits to a throng as attendees of the consultative meetings. Why such a paucity of sources??? I won’t bore readers with details of what transpired last Sunday; it’s available on my Twitter handle.
All I can say to the Editor of the Zimbabwe Independent is, it’s not very nice to sell such tall tales relating to a project which has been embraced and which will proceed to excoriate you in future and forever.
The Lucerne project will be inclusive and will cover a mere 6 000 hectares out os the sprawling project which develops – not displace – villagers of Chilonga and Chiredzi. It’s not like AMH does not have correct facts. The accompanying two pieces will show the group knows what Govt plans to do, and what need is set to be met by Lucerne grass. Zimbabwe faces a milk shortage and is having to import powdered milk from South Africa. Has the AMH Group been lobbied by South Africa’s MILK
BARONS who stand to suffer if Zimbabwe gets self-sufficient in milk production? Or enjoys a surplus thus stiffening competition in the sub-regional milk market?? Why would a national paper which claims to be a leading voice of business miss such obvious business logic in plans to import substitute??? Why??? This is my painful ASK to the editor and her proprietor who also advises the Head of State of Zimbabwe!!!!