Monday, September 11, 2006


As September 11 gives way to September 12, 2006 and official 9/11 commemorations come to an end, I too mark another milestone in my life, I turned one year older.

I am one of thousands of people in the world who were and will be born on a day now so infamous that one has to make sure they assume the right demeanor and adjust their tone before uttering it or anything connected to it, lest listeners misconstrue you to be reveling in the loss of that day.

In fact, I have no problem with my birthday being eclipsed by all the solemn attributes to the 3 000 innocent people who lost their lives to terrorism on that fateful day in 2001 and those so killed in similar tragedies before and after that day. It is the least I can do to honour them.

The last time I had a full-fledged birthday party was in 2000. Then came September 11, 2001, a sunny Tuesday in Harare. I was running around preparing for my journey to Texas, USA.

Every now and I again I stopped to field calls from family and friends who wished me a happy birthday. Around 3 pm, Zimbabwean time, I fielded a different call. A colleague asked if I was near a television. I wasn’t. I was driving.

“Go home immediately and watch TV,” he said in an eerily quiet voice.

I rushed home and switched on the TV just before the first tower collapsed. The calls I made and received after that had nothing to do with my birthday. They were all about what was happening in the US, who was doing it, why, how would it end and whether I was going to be able to travel to the US.

I have no doubt my story was repeated a thousand times around the world in one form or another.

After that day, it never felt necessary for me to party. Well meant congratulations and presents have been treasurable enough, thank you.

Today became a measured exception though. Colleagues at work threw me a small do in the office. Two delicious cakes, some non-alcoholic wine and appropriate presents from special friends. It was befitting the day.

In the end, when others worry about whether they will get all excited and drunk and ruin their special day, I prayed that the day ends without some devilish commemoration from, you know who!



Can someone tell me what really is wrong with Zimbabwe’s information ministers? What do they really have against journalists? Do they understand our job at all?

Since the time of the professor from HELL, Jonathan Moyo, every information minister has been accusing journalists of all sorts of things.

Paul Mangwana -a learned lawyer, no less- accuses Zimbabwean journalists of working undercover to advance Western interests and denigrate President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Reports from Harare say Mangwana charges that some reporters have dedicated their careers to working with Zimbabwe's enemies to bring about regime change. Well, at least he knows there is need for regime change.

They are “willing soldiers in a war that is not theirs", he reportedly said.

Mangwana is holding the portfolio in an acting capacity following the death of substantive minister, Dr. Tichaona Jokonya who was on record threatening journalists with death for working for Western media. He called us “traitors”.

“The unfortunate thing about a traitor is that you are killed by both your own people and the person whom you are serving,” Jokonya warned us and we all shook with fear!!

It all started with Jokonya’s predecessor, Prof Moyo who came into the ministry in 2000 with such hatred of journalists that he literally drove many into jails and exile. Some have actually attributed some deaths of journalists to brutality authored and directed by the professor.

He actually made a public announcement that all journalists living Zimbabwe were spies and should be dealt with accordingly. Spies are almost always killed or at least jailed for long stretches of time.

I don’t know about my colleagues back home and elsewhere in the Diaspora, but I wouldn’t know how to spy even if I was offered the chance to.