Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara told parliamentarians this week there were clear-cut diplomatic channels to be followed when conducting government-to-government business and said it was wrong for officials to use newspapers and other media to attack other countries.
Mutambara said this in the House of Assembly during the question and answer session while responding to questions from an MDC-T MP who wanted him to explain government policy pertaining to communication between governments in the Sadc region.
Chipinge East MP Mathias Mlambo had asked Mutambara whether it was permissible for state-owned newspapers to denigrate Sadc leaders.
“Diplomatic relations are through government channels and not through the television or newspapers,” said Mutambara.
“If we want to speak to South African President Jacob Zuma, we should do that through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and not through newspapers.
“We are in an inclusive government and we should work together. Parliamentarians should also work together and newspapers should support the inclusive government, and that means we must try as much as possible to put national interests ahead,” said Mutambara.
He said television and newspapers were fundamental to communication, but were not the proper channels for government-to-government communication.
Early this week, state media columnists launched a personal tirade against President Zuma describing him as “an erratic and primitive leader who had become a liability to South Africa and Africa as a whole”.
They further said Zuma, who is the Sadc-appointed mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, was a “dishonest broker” and also accused him of betraying Africa by voting for the bombardment of Libya.