Today I woke up to read that the Editor of the Sunday Times Zimbabwe called Edmund Kudzayi http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27937794 is being charged by the state with Terrorism. My first reaction was outrage. I was angry because when I think of Terrorism I think of 260 girls being kidnapped and held hostage in Nigeria. I think of 9/11 and the tragedy that hit America. I think of people dying at the Mall in Kenya because of their religious affiliations. I think Al Qaeda and Al Shabab.
When I think of Terrorism I do not think of a citizen opening their private account and sharing their own opinions about their country’s state of affairs. I do not think of an educated Editor exercising his right to freedom of expression. After my anger I started to become concerned and worried. i worry what this means for me and the people of Zimbabwe. The people of all countries where one gets persecuted for speaking their mind whether it is right or wrong. I worry because this is not just a Zimbabwean thing but rather many African countries.
I went on to do more reading on the story and what I found began to make me realize the possible reason for the arrest. The current Editor who got arrested was 28 and young. The Editor who preceded him had held the position for 20 years and if I am to be subtle had all the proper connections and followed the system. He was like a good pet that obeyed and barked when commanded to do so. However, the new Editor was not a good pet. He was like one of those dogs that live in the streets and fend for themselves. The kind that does not follow orders so easily and dares to not toe the line.
The reaction to this arrest is also something I worry about. I remember when I was child at my school there was a child who used to bully my friend all the time. I would always hide from him when I saw him coming at my friend because by avoiding him I would remain unharmed. I told myself that the best way to survive was to keep my head down. But one day he got bored of my friend and decided to start beating me up. This went on for quite some time and my friend would also just hide as my lunch got stolen. It was only when my friend and I decided to stand together and throw hot pepper in the Bully’s eyes that he fell over, cried like a baby and left us. Life has taught me that putting your head down and hoping to coast along never does you or your neighbor any good.
The story of Edmund saddens me to think that my right has no say but it also inspires me because I know there is someone out there asking all the right questions that get you into trouble but also expose all the wrong things.