The editor of the Standard Bornwell Chakaodza said if Information Minister Jonathan Moyo thought that arresting and charging journalists would silence the press, then he was in for a surprise.
In an editorial after his arrest, Chakaodza said: “History tells us that when ruling parties start legislating to protect themselves, when they begin to punish dissent, then their days are numbered.”
Viewing cable 02HARARE1198, STANDARD” EDITORIAL DEFIANT
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 001198
AF/PD FOR COX AND ROBERTSON, AF/S FOR KRAFT AND
SCHLACHTER, AF/RA FOR DIPALMA, INR/R/MR, NSC FOR
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: “STANDARD” EDITORIAL DEFIANT
¶1. In the wake of his May 16 arrest for “publishing
false stories,” the editor of the independent weekly
“Standard,” Bornwell Chakaodza, used his May 19
editorial as a defiant bully pulpit. Excerpts:
¶2. “. . .Daring to tell the truth, even the obvious
truth, is now a dangerous occupation. . . (Information
Minister Jonathan) Moyo has declared war on the free
press and will do whatever he can to crush it beneath
his clumsy boot. Fortunately he won’t succeed.
“. . .History tells us that when ruling parties
start legislating to protect themselves, when they
begin to punish dissent, then their days are
numbered. ZANU PF’s good fortune has been the good-
natured tolerance of Zimbabweans, but that
tolerance is wearing thin. . . If they think that
passing laws in a rubber-stamp parliament, or
buying powerful weapons of oppression, will
lengthen their stay, then they’re sadly mistaken.
It also needs to be said that if the police or
Jonathan Moyo thinks that arresting and charging
journalists will silence the press, then they too
are in for a surprise. It won’t – and the angrier
they become, the more entrenched and resolute will
be the determination to carry on.”