ACME in the news – Longevity in power affects freedom and institutions, says media mogul

This article was first published in Daily Monitor.

Kampala- Leaders staying in power for long is detrimental to people’s basic freedoms and the development of institutions, a renowned Zimbabwean media entrepreneur and publisher has said.

Speaking during a public lecture yesterday, Mr Trevor Ncube, the owner of the South Africa-based Mail & Guardian media group, singled out Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and President Museveni for criticism.
“The president in my country, like it is the case in Uganda, has been in State House for far too long,” Mr Ncube said.

he added: “It is not healthy for a leader to stay in power indefinitely because this subverts the power of institutions.”

Mr Ncube, who also owns four newspaper titles in Zimbabwe, has had brushes with his government and currently lives in South Africa.
At some point, he said at the lecture held at Golf Course hotel in Kampala, he had to fight for his right to being a citizen of Zimbabwe in the courts.

Mr Ncube criticised what he called the “convenient use of culture” by politicians to pass legislation that criminalises gay people.
“The African prejudice against gays and lesbians shocks me,” Mr Ncube said, arguing that Africans were for a long time enslaved and that now having shed off the enslavement, they should avoid victimising other minorities such as gays.

Advise to the media
Mr Ncube urged journalists not to join “politicians in their bigotry (and avoid) being apologists for politicians and propping up dictatorial regimes.”
The lecture, organised by the African Centre for Media Excellence with support from the donor-supported Democratic Governance Facility, was aimed at discussing the relationship between media and politics.

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