The politics of ‘patriots’ and ‘traitors’ on Radio Zimbabwe | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2040-199X
  • E-ISSN: 1751-7974



This article analyses internal dynamics within the groups of people constituted on the state radio station, Radio Zimbabwe, as ‘patriots’ and ‘traitors’ between March and April 2011. While it appears as if these groups were made up of a homogeneous people, a closer look at the broadcasts using critical discourse analysis suggests that each group was internally fraught with inequalities. President Mugabe along with a group labelled as ‘national heroes’ was constructed as superior to other comrades (‘Provincial heroes’ and ‘Liberation war heroes’). This setting apart of some people as better than others worked to justify why some people within the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party would forever be frontrunners in the party and in the country. Although all opposition groups have generally been depicted in state media as ‘traitors’, this article argues that former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the faction that he led, the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T), were framed as the ‘worst of the traitors’. The then Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Arthur Mutambara, and his faction, the Movement for Democratic Change-Mutambara (MDC-M), escaped the vitriolic attack on the station. Ridiculing Tsvangirai and the MDC-T exclusively served to further delegitimize him and his faction as serious political contenders. It also worked to nurture the divisions that already existed within the opposition camp.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): comrades; hierarchies; MDC; Radio Zimbabwe; sell-outs; ZANU-PF
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