Miriam Mangwaya, a reporter with The Mirror weekly newspaper was on 26 June 2018 threatened and harassed by a Zanu PF youth while travelling from the burial of Chief Hama in Zimbabwe’s Chirumanzi district.
Mangwaya told MISA Zimbabwe that one of the youths whom she identified, accused her of being among some of the journalists that write negatively about Zanu PF. She was travelling in a Mvuma Primary School minibus together with three Zanu PF youths and other passengers after the chief’s burial.
The youth reportedly grabbed her by the collar of her jacket and tore her news diary in the process. A government official who was also travelling with them, however, managed to restrain the youth. “He said they (youths) will not tolerate journalists that distort information and threatened to deal with them,” said Mangwaya.
She reported the incident at Mvuma police station under RRB Number 3397382. Nkulumani Mlambo, editor of The Mirror, confirmed their reporter had alerted them of the incident.
MISA Zimbabwe position
The police should thoroughly investigate this matter and bring the alleged culprit(s) to book as a clear warning to other would-be offenders that such unlawful actions against journalists will not be tolerated.
These unlawful and unruly actions of intolerance by supporters of political parties should be condemned in the strongest of terms as they pose great risk to the safety and security of journalists and citizens in general.
On the other hand, journalists should always be mindful of the profession’s safety and security measures whenever they are on assignment. One such precaution is to be aware of how certain sources or political players may perceive you. This entails instinctive evaluation of potential risks in order to minimise risk to life and limb.