Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday criticised former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono for allegedly confiding in President Robert Mugabe that he had been blacklisted in the public media, saying that Gono owned a newspaper and was at liberty to use it if he wanted maximum media coverage.
Gono reportedly complained to Mugabe when the veteran leader toured his New Donnington Farm in Norton last week, resulting in the veteran Zanu PF leader issuing a stern warning on those allegedly imposing a blackout on his personal banker.
Addressing panellists at the inaugural meeting of the Independent Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) in Harare yesterday, Moyo said he was shocked that “his friend” had backstabbed him by making unsubstantiated claims that he had been blacklisted by the Information ministry-controlled media.
Moyo challenged Gono to prove the claims and threatened to expose him for “lying” to Mugabe.
“They say some people are on the blacklist and the blacklist comes from the ministry. Why should we have a blacklist as if it’s a credit facility?” Moyo quipped.
“I was shocked when my good friend, the former governor (Gono) suggested there are people who don’t want him covered. He told the President something to that effect.
“If the one who is alleging it is lying, the media should tell that person he was lying . . . In jest, I thought he can’t say that because he has his own newspaper, why not go to that newspaper?”
Gono is believed to be the majority shareholder at The Financial Gazette.
Moyo also blasted Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman Temba Mliswa, who on Tuesday accused him for abusing the media to pursue Zanu PF faction fights.
He challenged Mliswa to “carry his own cross” after the outspoken Zanu PF Hurungwe West MP was labelled an extortionist by businessman Billy Rautenbach.
Mliswa alleged that Moyo was in the faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa fighting those linked to Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
But Moyo shot back saying : “In reference to the Salarygate stories, those people were not donating to any faction; they were enjoying and living large alone and with their families and friends. You don’t need a helicopter view to understand that.
“To say you abuse funds and you are caught with hands in the till, (if) it is published and say it’s destroying the image of the party, that’s corruption. You will not go down with that political party, it’s you and you alone, carry your cross alone. It’s not in the constitution of the party, it’s against party policy, you are stealing alone and if people keep quiet, the media will say you were stealing for the party.”
He urged the media to desist from “positional journalism” where journalists were not reporting based on “telling a story as it is” and report the true Zimbabwean story.
Moyo also attacked politicians who acted as if they owned the media.
“Possessive journalism is a feature on our people across the political divide that they own the media and the media should tell their story from their point of view. It’s clear people say this media house belongs to us, it’s ours, and it’s an opposition paper.
“There is something which is so primitive now where you hear people say who put this (Elton) Mangoma faction story here or the (Morgan) Tsvangirai faction story in the paper or who has put the Mujuru faction story or the Mnangagwa faction story here,” Moyo said, adding that journalists must be left to exercise their duties in a professional manner as per their training.
On the arrest and prosecution of suspended ZBC chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere, Moyo said: “They ask whether we knew about it, we didn’t know about it.
We didn’t have anything to do with that, we don’t arrest or prosecute people, we were not the complainants in the matter.”