Zimbabwe: We’ve got both kinds of mercenaries – journalists, and soldiers of fortune

Zimbabwe has sentenced Simon Mann, alleged Equatorial Guinea coup plotter, to seven years in jail for weapons violations. The pilots of the plane that landed in Zimbabwe got 16 months, the passengers, a year. While the BBC reports that these sentences are “stiffer than the men would have expected”, it’s worth remembering that, as the situation unfolded, Mugabe and crew were making noise about finding ways to charge the alleged mercenaries with capital crimes. No word yet on what fate will befall the other 16 alleged mercenaries held in Equatorial Guinea.

In other Zim news, World Press Review has a pair of excellent articles on Mugabe’s systematic war on dissent. Julius Dawu’s “A Death Knell for Zimbabwe’s Press”, which talks about Information Minister Jonathan Moyo’s threats against “mercenary journalists” – that is to say, any journalist who freelances for a non-state controlled paper. Dawu quotes Moyo:

“We will not allow Bush’s boys in our midst … The situation in Zimbabwe today calls for principled actions without fear or favour, and without succumbing to any threats or intimidation. Mercenaries of any kind, whether carrying the sword or the pen, must and will be exposed and they will suffer full consequences of the law,”

Dawu’s second article on WPR is an overview of press arrests in Zimbabwe in late 2003.

Zimbabwe has sentenced Simon Mann, alleged Equatorial Guinea coup plotter, to seven years in jail for weapons violations. The pilots of the plane that landed in Zimbabwe got 16 months, the passengers, a year. While the BBC reports that these sentences are “stiffer than the men would have expected”, it’s worth remembering that, as the situation unfolded, Mugabe and crew were making noise about finding ways to charge the alleged mercenaries with capital crimes. No word yet on what fate will befall the other 16 alleged mercenaries held in Equatorial Guinea.

In other Zim news, World Press Review has a pair of excellent articles on Mugabe’s systematic war on dissent. Julius Dawu’s “A Death Knell for Zimbabwe’s Press”, which talks about Information Minister Jonathan Moyo’s threats against “mercenary journalists” – that is to say, any journalist who freelances for a non-state controlled paper. Dawu quotes Moyo:

“We will not allow Bush’s boys in our midst … The situation in Zimbabwe today calls for principled actions without fear or favour, and without succumbing to any threats or intimidation. Mercenaries of any kind, whether carrying the sword or the pen, must and will be exposed and they will suffer full consequences of the law,”

Dawu’s second article on WPR is an overview of press arrests in Zimbabwe in late 2003.

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