President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is trying to win his own mandate in the coming elections, received a big plus when the chairperson of Alpha Media Holdings Trevor Ncube endorsed him and urged Zimbabweans to support his bid to revive the country’s economy.
Zimbabwe has three major print media houses- Zimpapers which is State-controlled and publishes the two major dailies, the Chronicle and the Herald, and their Sunday papers the Sunday Mail and the Sunday News; Alpha Media Holdings which publishes Newsday, the Independent and the Standard; and Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe which publishes the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday as well as the Financial Gazette though the paper is still under Modus Publications.
With Ncube’s endorsement, Mnangagwa has two media houses under his bag leaving only one media house though reports say some of the senior editors at ANZ are pro-Mnangagwa.
The electronic media is also under his thump as there have been complaints that radio licences have so far been issued to pro government operators except for one, Skies Metro.
According to the Herald, Ncube told a business conference in Harare: “I am encouraged by ED and I urge all of us to support him and make tangible his bold declaration that Zimbabwe is open for business.
“Is he the man at the helm right now who we should be giving a chance? Yes, I believe so, because if Mnangagwa succeeds, we all succeed. So, for us to be praying and grinding that he doesn’t succeed is not what will help us.”
Mnangagwa came to power in November after a military intervention and needs his own mandate for the world to open to his call that Zimbabwe is open for business.
His critics, especially disgruntled former G40 members who were kicked out by the military, say Mnangagwa is unelectable, but he has so far won the hearts of the West including the United States which is working on lifting sanctions on Zimbabwe if Mnangagwa holds free, fair and credible elections.
The business sector also seems to be warming up to Mnangagwa.
“There has been an amazing energy in the country; I don’t know whether you feel it, I feel it; it’s palpable,” Ncube said.
“There is a certain positive sense that tomorrow might be better, but this is only the first of many steps that are required to improve what has been a story of abject failure and hopelessness for several decades.”
The only thing that seems to be spoiling things for Mnangagwa is that he has so far failed to solve the cash crisis in the country. But he still has three months before the elections as the earliest they can be held is 21 July.