The Central Intelligence Organisation manufactured the false story planted in a United Kingdom-based website, Zimeye, claiming that Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe had died, authoritative sources have revealed.
The false report in Zimeye, which was also broadcast by an SABC-affiliated radio station in South Africa, has been denied by Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba.
Charamba threatened a government clampdown on media websites which have become a major source of news about the regime, which has banned independent broadcasters and has virtually taken over the few private newspapers granted publishing licences by planting its operatives in top posts.
A mole said the current fiasco was typical CIO modus operandi. He said Charamba was behind the rumour, to give him an opportunity to ‘deny’ it, as he does every year around this time. The regime also wanted to fish out Mugabe’s opponents, especially within the security services, by watching how people would react to the rumour.
The African Media Bloggers Association (AMBA-Zimbabwe) condemned Charamba’s threats. Amba said in a statement that the government was to blame for covering up Mugabe’s health issues, leaving the media to speculate.
“Charamba has totally failed to set up an effective communication system for the president. He sees himself as an untouchable party functionary, not as a civil servant from whom we must demand delivery on set targets and accountability,” the Amba statement said. “It is baffling that in this digital age, the presidency does not even have an official website where such dangerous rumours can be rebutted before they spread. Charamba does not even have a known official email address where journalists can address their enquiries. Instead, the regime is actively trying to ban the internet, which is a waste of time.”
The bloggers refuted Charamba’s claims that journalists were publishing lies about Mugabe in order to get views, which he called hits.
“Actually, someone should tell Charamba that if we wanted cheap views we would just publish pornography on our websites. People are more interested in beautiful girls than pictures of an aged dictator who has ruined the hopes of his country. The reason people are interested in Mugabe is that he is the president whose lavish holidays in Singapore are sponsored by our taxes. It is our right to know what state of health he is in,” said the bloggers.
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