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Home | ZimCrisis#34 -- Zim's Message to SA: ZANU-PF Needs You

Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 23:11:17 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis#34 -- Zim's Message to SA: ZANU-PF Needs You
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"Canadian government":
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Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party has embarked on a campaign to win the hearts and minds of South Africans, and has appointed a spin doctor who aims to polish the tarnished image of President Robert Mugabe's government. "It's an uphill battle, but a welcome challenge," said Musekiwa Kumbula of his job.

Zanu-PF is using South Africa as a "gateway to world opinion". In recent weeks the likes of Justice Minister Emerson Mnangagwa have been on local radio and TV, extolling their party's view on the current crisis over land redistribution. A 15-member delegation of Zanu-PF officials has also been meeting with various media, political parties and organisations here. Kumbula said the aim of these forays was to put events in Zimbabwe into perspective.

Kumbula, who has been living in South Africa for the past eight years, describes himself as "a lifelong member of Zanu-PF". He runs his own company, Trans Africa Communications Consultancy, based in Bedfordview. Said Kumbula: "The feeling in Zimbabwe is that there has been a total onslaught in terms of the media coverage of what's been happening there. It seems as if there has been an orchestrated media campaign to cast Zimbabwe in a negative light. The feeling is that there are those bent on demonising the president and his government. Then there are those who do so through ignorance, and it is the latter whom we are trying to reach. We're trying to engage key people in the media, politics and business. This is why we are conducting this counter-strategy in South Africa, it is the gateway to world opinion."

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has also done some campaigning within South Africa, addressing gatherings and meeting with business leaders and politicians to garner support for its bid to trounce Zanu-PF in the elections. Kumbula insisted that "we are not emulating the MDC, we've been doing this before them".

At least 24 people, most of them black supporters of the opposition MDC, have been killed and hundreds beaten by Zanu-PF supporters who have invaded hundreds of farms. Neither the police nor Mugabe have attempted to stem the bloodshed. Kumbula countered that violence in Zimbabwe is nowhere near the levels experienced in South Africa during the run-up to the 1994 election - or the violence in places such as Richmond where fighting in the rural KwaZulu Natal town saw dozens killed. Kumbula said their campaign was to contextualise the situation in Zimbabwe and allay fears of anarchy.

"Business will be engaged because we know that Zimbabwe and South Africa and all the SADC countries are inter-dependent," he said. Part of the campaign will include making high- ranking Zanu-PF officials and ministers accessible to the media and other interested parties. Kumbula said: "The media must be balanced and objective - some journalists won't allow the facts to get in the way of a good story. The reality is that Zimbabwe is not going up in flames. You should go visit Harare and see for yourself," he said. -Independent Online

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Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk