Facts don’t matter when the West reports on Mugabe


The Whistleblower versus Robert Mugabe and the United Nations, read the headline of the latest article on the Zimbabwe president. The article was written by Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Bandow is a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan…. These credentials, at face value, add credibility to what he writes.

The article is about Georges Tadonki who worked briefly in Harare in 2008 as head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs before being fired.

Tadonki, a Cameroonian, says he was fired to silence him for raising an alarm on the cholera outbreak that rocked the country at the end of 2008 and killed more than 4 000 because the United Nations Development Programme resident representative Agostinho Zacarias wanted to play down the figures so as not to upset Mugabe who had forced his way back into office that year.

“In 2008 Tadonki had been on station for six years and predicted epidemics of both cholera and violence,” Bandow writes in the latest article.

The article gives the impression that Tadonki was widely experienced on epidemics in Zimbabwe since he had been in the country for six years. But this is not true. Tadonki only arrived in Zimbabwe on 24 March 2008 on a one-year fixed term appointment.

This was five days before the elections and he was fired in January 2009. He had only been in the country for 10 months.

The fall-guy Zacarias might have been sympathetic to ZANU-PF as a former freedom fighter from neighbouring Mozambique, but what all the stories have ignored is that Zacarias himself was under investigation by UNDP headquarters from 1 July 2008.

These might be considered minor omissions or oversights but it is this kind of misreporting that tends to drive people that also feel that Mugabe has overstayed to rally behind him because they start asking why is the West so against him that they can even lie?


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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