The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has condemned the recent increases in cases of politically-motivated attacks against journalists by officials and supporters of the main political parties in the coalition government.
In a statement, ZUJ secretary-general Foster Dongozi said: “We are deeply concerned that the spokesperson of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Nelson Chamisa, who is also a government minister, verbally abused freelance journalist Nkosana Dlamini at a press conference held at the party’s headquarters, Harvest House, recently.
“Chamisa accused Dlamini of ‘bringing Zanu PF propaganda to Harvest House’ after he had asked Prime Minister Tsvangirai a question. Dlamini has indicated in his letter of complaint that the act amounted to harassment.”
Dongozi said his union was concerned about the safety of its members when senior party officials appeared to incite their supporters against journalists.
He said a few days after Dlamini’s attack, Xolisani Ncube, a journalist with The Daily News, was assaulted outside MDC-T offices and had his camera allegedly stolen by the party’s supporters.
“As a union, we strongly condemn the attacks against journalists and demand that the MDC-T leadership should guarantee the safety of journalists at their press conferences and their forthcoming congress. ZUJ would also like to condemn in very strong terms, the beating-up of Priviledge Musvanhiri, a freelance journalist, and the theft of his professional equipment by Zanu PF supporters in Harare,” he said.
Musvanhiri was allegedly punched and had his recorder stolen by suspected Zanu PF supporters while Clarkson Mambo of New Ziana was reportedly manhandled by the mob.
“We call on the two main political parties to declare zero tolerance against attacks on journalists or any Zimbabwean citizen,” Dongozi said.