By Collins Chirinda
HARARE -MEDIA Centre has dismissed claims that it is a hub of fake news after negative comments erupted on social media that the organisation was lying about a press conference involving United Movement for Democracy (UMD) Party which is alleged to be Strive Masiyiwa and Mutumwa Mawere’s upcoming political party.
Media Centre has demanded an official apology for its resources wasted and degrading consequences suffered from Aaron Muzungu and his associates who are said to have approached the organisation on Wednesday 4 April 2018, seeking to utilize the organisation’s facilities for a press conference that was to be held on Friday 6 April which they said was going to be addressed by Mutumwa Mawere.
It has been established that one Elia Muchape who identified himself as the party spokesperson and Aaron Muzungu cancelled the scheduled Press Conference at the last minute after Media Centre had already sent out invitations to the media, stating that the press conference was going to be held in South Africa instead.
The agenda of the press conference was to announce the entrance of Strive Masiyiwa into the Presidential election race in the oncoming watershed elections.
Mr Stanford Nyatsanza who is Assistant Programmes Officer at Media Centre said he was approached by an individual identified as Aaron Muzungu together with four men and made a booking for a venue to hold a press conference today (6 April 2018).
Nyatsanza also said Media Centre is not affiliated with any political party and its mandate is to give publicity to any organisation or individual who requires it.
“As Media Centre we do not tolerate or peddle fake news.” he said.
“We offer venues for press conferences by any organisation. We are not associated with anyone holding press conferences including political parties.” continued Nyatsanza.
Nyatsanza also added that he was approached by the men on the pretext that they were seeking a venue to hold a press conference to address the nation and to launch their political party.
“I asked them the question, what are you going to be talking about as a new political party and they said notifying the nation of the coming in of Strive Masiyiwa into politics as the president of the party.” he said.
Mawere has distanced himself from the political party with a tweet on his official Twitter handle @mmawere saying it was “Fake News”.
In a telephone interview with The Zimbabwe Sentinel reporter, Machape declined to give reason as to why they had canceled the press conference and move it to South Africa as communicated to Media Centre.
He also declined to issue an apology in accordance with Media Centre’s demand saying the reasons were confidential.
Political analyst Mr Bekezela Gumbo said this was a designed move meant to discolor the image of independent media.
“These are calculated efforts to tarnish the image of Media Centre ahead of the 2018 elections.” said Gumbo.
Gumbo also lambasted the move saying it was an act of coward banditry.
“If unidentified persons come and book a hoax press conference and chicken out thereafter without even giving a public statement it means their ultimate goal remains to taint the name of Media Centre into becoming peddlers of fake news.” he said.