Tuesday 18 July 2023


The Government has dismissed as reckless, provocative and malicious, a report in yesterday’s edition of the privately-owned daily, NewsDay, alleging the presence in Zimbabwe, of a militia group from neighbouring Mozambique.

In statement yesterday, Government said such a brazen piece of fake news and yellow journalism had no place in the country ahead of the harmonised elections next month.

The statement followed the publication of a front page article titled; “Zanu ropes in Moza militia” wherein the paper falsely claimed a Mozambican militia group had been deployed to the Chipinge area at the invitation of the Government to coerce people to vote for the ruling Zanu PF party.

The Deputy Chief Secretary, Presidential Communications in the Office of the President and Cabinet Mr George Charamba said the article was timed to raise political temperatures in the country as it prepared for harmonised elections, and to deliberately impugn long-standing bilateral relations with the neighbouring sister Republic of Mozambique.

Mr Charamba said the piece of brazen fake news shows what becomes of journalism when a discredited publisher, backed by an unprofessional editorial team, prefers political partisanship to media ethics.

“Nothing in Section 61 of our hallowed Constitution protects or condones the publishing of such reckless, politically motivated falsehoods,” he said.

“We thus hope and expect that the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), takes a clear and bold position against this flagrant abuse of media freedoms whose impact on national security, and on inter-state relations, are dire and injurious respectively.

“That the article repeatedly and self-consciously used the adverb ‘reportedly’, clearly shows deliberate, gratuitous malice, and a conscious decision to proceed to publish falsehoods regardless, as if to wilfully spite rules of the craft.

“So, too, does the tabloid paper’s decision to proceed on the basis of some spurious video clip anonymously placed and circulated on the social media.

“The intentions of the video are clear, namely to stir hostilities and to harm harmonious relations between communities on either side of our common border with the sister Republic of Mozambique.

“Zanu PF, itself the Party of Liberation campaigning on a solid record of countrywide delivery, needs not do anything to violate Zimbabwe’s territorial integrity, including enlisting the support of security arms of a foreign country for its election campaign whose momentum and success on the ground is self-evident,” said Mr Charamba.

He said Government was demanding an immediate public apology from Alpha Media Holdings, publishers of NewsDay, and an unconditional retraction of the offensive article by the newspaper.

He said Government further expected the apology and retraction to have the same prominence as the offending article.

“Failure to publicly apologise, and to retract as demanded and on terms outlined above, automatically invites the injured parties, who include Government, to pursue and seek redress through legal options which are available to them,” Mr Charamba said.

“As Government voices its protest against such reckless, fringe journalism, it continues to urge the mainstream media to show the way by upholding tenets of professional journalism in the country, especially now as we go through the last stretch of our election campaign programme which, to date, has been remarkably free, fair and peaceful. Nothing must be allowed to wreck our hard-won national peace.” Herald


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