'It's like losing a son'
With the skill and patience of a seasoned hunter the government has been stalking the Daily News for a long time, writes Wilf Mbanga, the newspaper’s founder. It carefully manoeuvred into a position of strength before its final attack.
Having gotten away with the land-grab, the impoverishment of most Zimbabweans through wanton destruction of the economy, the disenfranchisement and exile of the majority of the white population, blatantly fraudulent elections and the killing, maiming and raping of thousands of opposition supporters it pounced for the kill.
It finally cornered its quarry when the Supreme Court ruled that The Daily News could not seek legal protection while breaking the law in question.
Despite heroic efforts by the staff, the paper has not been produced since then.
Finally, the coup de grace: the paper’s application for registration, made as soon as the high court judgement was received, has been turned down by the Media and Information Commission, as we knew all along that it would be.
Human rights are under siege in Zimbabwe. Freedom of expression is next on the list.
This saga raises this question: Why did President Robert Mugabe’s regime not simply ban The Daily News years ago, either at its inception or as soon as it became evident that the paper would expose the government’s corrupt and repressive rule? Why the convoluted legal niceties? Why the four-year delay?
The only answer must be that Mugabe likes legal niceties. He did two law degrees while imprisoned by the Rhodesians during 1964 to 1974. Throughout his rule he has taken great pains to ensure that new legislation is passed to facilitate his most illegal activities.
And so The Daily News is not banned — it has merely been refused registration to operate because it has failed to comply with the requirements of the newspaper registration law of Zimbabwe.
Effectively the paper I founded is over. Killed by the regime. It is like losing a son. I loved that paper. It makes you weep. — Â