Two days after Zimbabwe authorities accused sections of the media of being used by diplomatic missions accredited to Harare in an alleged plot to oust President Emmerson Mnangagwa, journalists from the private press were on Friday barred from covering the Zanu PF leader’s commissioning of ZUPCO buses in Chinhoyi.

According to reports, security details at the commissioning ceremony accused the independent journalists of coming late to the event, despite the scribes arriving at the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT), about an hour earlier before the event was actually scheduled to start.

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe on Wednesday said some sections of the media were being used by hostile diplomatic missions to spread falsehoods about a coup in the southern African country.

About 10 journalists from the private media were yesterday blocked by Mnangagwa’s security personnel from entering the venue of the event.

They were told to leave the venue of the event or risk facing unspecified action.

An affected reporter told the private-owned Newsday that the working environment for journalists in Zimbabwe had worsened under Mnangagwa, compared to the era of his predecessor and late Zimbabwe despot Robert Mugabe.

“Mnangagwa’s new dispensation is more dangerous to journalists than the old dispensation of Mugabe,” said the journalist who could not be named for fear of reprisal.

Foster Dongozi, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) president described the move by Mnangagwa’s security as ‘unacceptable’.

“That is totally unacceptable behaviour from the security department who were barring journalists and as you are aware, journalists are classified as essential service,” said Dongozi.

His sentiments were also echoed by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe Chapter director, Thabani Moyo.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa could not be immediately reached for a comment on the matter.

private media