ZUJ board member ‘sells out’ editor

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The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), stunned by reports that one of its top members had a role in the arrest of a fellow journalist, has decided to wield the axe on the errant office bearer.

Members of ZUJ based in Masvingo Province have sent a petition calling for action to be taken against Grail Kupakuwana, a member of the union’s national executive.

He is alleged to have acted on the behest of a Cabinet minister, Walter Mzembi to unmask sources of a story written about the Zanu PF politician.

Foster Dongozi, the ZUJ secretary general on Friday said the union was taking the matter seriously and stern action would be taken should Kupakuwana be found on the wrong side of action.

He said a statement will soon be issued on the matter.

“The situation as it stands is that I received a petition signed by ZUJ members from Masvingo Province alleging that one of our colleagues Grail Kupakuwana engaged in unethical and unprofessional conduct which has the capacity to seriously endanger the well-being of a comrade in Masvingo,” said Dongozi.

“As the secretary general I am mandated to bring this petition before the national executive committee and I am frantically ensuring consultations begin this morning (Friday) on the issue so that I am guided accordingly by the national executive committee’s decision.”

Kupakuwana, a freelance journalist, is alleged to be involved in the arrest of a Masvingo-based journalist, Golden Maunganidze on charges of criminally defaming Mzembi, the tourism minister.

Maunganidze authored a story in which Mzembi was accused of stealing tonnes of sugar meant for President Mugabe’s 86th birthday celebrations.

Mzembi immediately filed charges of criminal defamation against Maunganidze and in a desperate bid to establish the sources of the “offending” story he reportedly set Kupakuwana to trap Maunganidze to reveal his sources.

The senior ZUJ member is alleged to have travelled to Masvingo where he sent text messages to Maunganidze pretending to be interested in doing the same story.

On Friday Kupakuwana denied allegations saying it was a smear campaign.

He said he has since made a police report claiming Maunganidze threatened him with unspecified action.
“I want to tell the media fraternity that I did not betray anybody,” he said.

“I went to Masvingo to do some public relations consultancy for Mzembi, which had nothing to do with all this.”

Kupakuwana said he felt “betrayed” such that “I cried last night”.

He said he was “ready and prepared” to appear before a ZUJ hearing declaring he was going to clear his name.

Mzembi could not be reached for comment.