By Manungo Vongai
it is about national interest, which is the survival and the development of the people and their nation, meaning, defending the nation for the nation is the ‘them’ and everything else becomes secondary.
Yesteryear journalism was benchmarked on patriotism and the spirit of nationalism. In fact, journalists were being recruited into quasi government entities not only on the basis of their academic qualifications but also on unquestionable loyalty to the country.
The intelligence and the party’s security department played a significant role in terms of conducting vetting and clearance. Comrades who were operating from Radio Maputo also known as Voice of Zimbabwe took over ZBC at independence. That move was premised on the understanding that Comrades who included Grey Tichatonga Alias Mark Marongwe, Thomas Mandigora, Victor Mhizha Murira, Justice Chikukwa, Chris Mutsvangwa (Che Guevara Muchazvirega), Webster Shamhu (Charles Ndlovu) were a crucial facet to the question of bringing the masses together through relevant and politically correct programming.
In a discussion with a one journalist then, he mentioned a Cde known as Solo Maimbodei, a gallant son of the soil, who despite having a crippling enemy bullet lodged in his body, worked at the National broadcaster as an audio visual editor until the internal wounds sustained from enemy fire took their toll.
Because of his commitment to national duty, Cde Solo Maimbodei was the first journalist if not the only one who was then declared a National Hero and his remains were interred at the National Heroes Acre. Many cadres of the liberation struggle spoke glowingly of the commitment to duty exhibited by Cde Solo Maimbodei. Such was the commitment to working for the nation.
Real cadres did not care about the consequences of being in any battle front, theirs was to serve the nation unlike most journalists of today who report of what is happening in the river while they are on top of a dwala and call it an experience.
As years went by, the National broadcaster retired the majority of the War Veterans. The likes of Cde Thomas Mandigora and Cde Grey Tichatonga alias Mark Marongwe were given Ambassadorial posts. Other veteran journalists such as Patrick Nyamhunga ended up retiring. Others ended up being employed by other broadcasting stations such as Star FM, ZiFM and other new stations.
The new stations were established as a result of changes to the laws regarding broadcasting and media in general which opened up the airwaves.
Some former Journalists graduated to take up positions in the political sphere. These include the likes of Kindness Paradza, the late Nathan Shamhuyarira, Malaki Nkomo, DJ Phuthi, James Maridadi, to mention but a few. This confirms that the sky has not been a limit to Zimbabwe’s journalists.
The strength of a journalist is in believing in what the Independent nation believes in and be prepared to help the system and notice loopholes in the local entities, thus be part of the process to correct any such anomalies and enhance development.
A true journalist in the Independent Zimbabwe should be able to see where there are good developments and project them as they are. Such a reporter ceases to believe in that a common man only makes news when he bites the dog.
Under the new dispensation Government has repealed if not removed laws that have in the past affected free flow of information. These laws include AIPPA and POSA. This is part of the President’s agenda to deepen freedom of expression as well as ensuring the conclusion of a cocktail of political reforms that the 2nd Republic has embarked on.
As we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of our Independence, we also celebrate these milestone achievements by our own men and women who have helped tell the Zimbabwean story.