The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) boss Arthur Manase,
sent on leave of absence to pave way for corruption investigations last year, is vigorously and further pushing for the criminalisation of The NewsHawks journalists for legitimate reporting in the public interest.
In the process, he is making vague claims of defamation while raising nebulous technical complaints like saying he is not suspended, but “on leave of absence”.
Manase has been on a warpath against The NewsHawks, sending piles of letters of complaints – through Rubaya & Chatambudza Legal Practitioners – for merely reporting and exposing corruption at NSSA, including Public Service minister Paul Mavima’s US$400 000 Borrowdale house scandal.
Manase features in the story as he was suspended from NSSA in July last year under a heavy dark cloud of renewed corruption to facilitate investigations by various state agencies and institutions.
First, Manase took his complaints about NewsHawks stories on his suspension to the Volutary Media Council of Zimbabwe, which has a dispute resolution mechanism;
Secondly, Manase then reported The NewsHawks to the Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, begging him to act or investigate the reporters (which implies arresting journalists); and
Thirdly, he has now written a new letter threatening to “institute criminal charges against the editor, board members and reporters” of The NewsHawks.
Criminalisation of journalism, intimidation of journalists and infringements on citizens’ rights are embedded into the historical fabric of this nation.
Yet the truth is journalism is simply not a crime.
In a desperate bid to further raise the already high stakes, Manase now seeks to incite Mavima and the Office of the President and Cabinet against The NewsHawks, while not dealing with legitimate issues of corruption being raised at NSSA.