Journalists Golden Maunganidze and Passmore Kuzipa, who are respectively director and editor of Masvingo Provincial Weekly publication, TellZim News, have petitioned Zimbabwe Police Commissioner General, Godwin Matanga to intervene over the threats by Assistant Commissioner Taoneyi Nyazema to both their newspaper and themselves.
The duo, writing through lawyer Derick Charamba petitioned the Commissioner General to reign in his subordinate as they are now living in fear after being threatened with unspecified action on 11 April 2020 at the Masvingo Central Police station in the presence of the police Provincial Spokesperson, Chief Inspector Charity Mazula.
“On Saturday the 11th of April 2020, our clients were summoned by the Officer Commanding Masvingo Province for a discussion pursuant to an opinion column named Mapombi Adonha which was published in the TellZim edition of 10 April 2020. The respondent was not happy with the contents of that article.
We are reliably informed that the respondent threatened the two journalists with unspecified action and the duo are now living in constant fear. He took their details and dismissed them after having showered them with fear of highest magnitude,” reads the letter.
Maunganidze and Kuzipa, through the assistance of their lawyer made efforts to seek audience with the Assistant Commissioner in vain on 11 April around 1700hrs, as Nyazema rejected to meet them, electing instead to meet them on 13 April. The lawyer was surprised when they went to the offices today, only to be turned away. It was at that moment that the journalists instructed their lawyer, engaged through MISA Zimbabwe, to petition the Commissioner General to intervene.
“Kindly receive our complaint that our clients are living in constant fear and we have no option but inform your esteemed office that whatever omen and infringement that may befall them after such vivid threats can reasonably be explicable to the Respondent. We implore your office to intervene,” said Charamba.
As we have previously stated, the police and the Zimbabwe Media Commission should urgently investigate these cases involving the assault and harassment of journalists and bring the culprits to book, otherwise these media freedom violations will continue with impunity thereby placing the lives of journalists at great risk.
Equally worrisome is the fact that these violations are being instigated by the law enforcement arm of the government. We further call for the government to uphold the constitution which provides for media freedom through section 61.
Source: MISA Zimbabwe