Opinion & Analysis

Satirical journalism isn’t only for laughs

DEAR readers, you can’t make this stuff up. Zimbabwe officially remains a more peaceful country than the alleged “land of the free”, the United States of America!

So says the 16th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) which was released earlier this month, and which ranks 163 states and territories according to their level of peacefulness.

Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) — which is headquartered in Sydney, and has offices in New York, Brussels, The Hague, Mexico City and our own Harare — the GPI touts itself as the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness.

US Civil Unrest

According to the GPI, the United States is said to be continuing on its path of deterioration in peacefulness, a trend that apparently began in 2015.

Civil unrest is identified as the primary driver of the deterioration, leading to a 3,9 percent rise in the Safety and Security domain, particularly in the political terror and political instability indicators.

Thus, the wannabe monitor of the global community, the USA, is found on a rather humbling position 129 out of the 163 reviewed countries surveyed by the IEP.

Which makes VAR wonder whether it might be time for the international community to consider targeted sanctions against Washington, in the interest of ordinary Americans!

Zim Hacks Beware

Talking of surveys, a recent Reuters Institute report says an increasing number of people are turning away from the news because of its extreme negativity.

It suggests that almost four out of 10 people (38%) around the world now often avoid the news altogether — up from 29% in 2017 — in the interest of their mental health and sanity.

Nearly half of those who took part in the global survey also said that they were put off by the repetitiveness of the news agenda, amid too much coverage of politics.

This is surely food for thought for parts of Zimbabwe’s mainstream media and ubiquitous online platforms which are increasingly aping social media — and are chock-a-block with politics, negativity and wild claims.

Nyarota’s Folly

And talking of unadulterated nonsense, VAR remembers the pitiable hatchet job by one Geoff Nyarota on Zimbabwe’s most successful business person, Strive Masiyiwa, which was carried in a rival newspaper last year.

The Video Assistant Referee is still to rule on what was more disgraceful between Nyati’s blatant falsehoods and over-hyped sob story on the one hand, and on the other the fact that the publisher of the weekly had — once again — abused another desperado in a Machiavellian way to launch gratuitous attacks on his platforms against competitors and people that he may no longer be on good terms with. The North always remembers.

By the way dear readers, the proprietor of the weekly which carried Nyati’s poison-pen letter would not be where he is today without Masiyiwa’s benevolence, even though this incontrovertible truth is not publicly acknowledged by the would-be media mogul.

But that is a story for another day.

Nadir of Lies

As is typical of many of the mad rantings of the spectacularly troubled Geoff (even in his advanced age the man still possesses an immense capacity for hyper imagination, as well as an excessively high opinion of himself), the ad hominem attack on Masiyiwa was riddled with mortifying falsehoods.

For example, and contrary to the Big Ego’s claims that the bulk of the money that was raised after the dastardly bombing of the Daily News’s printing press in January 2001 was in the form of grants, it was in fact loans which the shareholders of the paper had to take care of back then, even though the title was banned at the time.

Mr Bitterness Personified can easily verify this fact with his friend Much Masunda, who was ANZ’s CEO then, and who VAR notes is associated with the weekly that carried the Masiyiwa calumny. The V11s are there.

But what took the cake was Geoff’s resort to disgusting blackmail using Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa’s faith, in an apparent bid to extort the good couple. Aargh!

If anyone actually believes all the claptrap that Nyati wrote — including claims that he allegedly lost properties while fighting the Daily News in the courts over a matter he was guaranteed to lose — then we should all also believe that pigs can fly.

If only Nyarota could face up to his tragic history of failure and self-destructive behaviour, maybe someone else out there could help him again, like Strive did in yester-yesters.

Until next week, Azishe!