Tsvangirai denied coverage

webster_shamuHARARE -- The Ministry of Information and Publicity failed to give Prime Minister Tsvangirai a media crew to travel with him on his tour to European Union countries and the United States. Sources in the ministry said Tsvangirais office wrote a letter to the ministry requesting that they make available a media crew to travel with the Prime Minister.

The letter was written by Prime Minister Tsvangirais Chief Secretary Ian Makone to Minister Webster Shamu and Permanent Secretary George Charamba but the two never responded, said the sources.

Prime minister Tsvangirais office is said to have offered to meet the costs for the media crew.

The Minister of Tourism Walter Mzembi was even left fuming last weekend when a ZBC reporter arrived at the airport to cover his departure without a camera.
Mzembi was part of Tsvangirais delegation.

But ZBC Chief Executive Officer, Happison Muchechetere, said only the President is entitled to travel with a news crew.

You cant compare the President and Prime Minister. It is only the President who gets coverage when he is out of the country, said Muchechetere. This is because of protocol and resource constraints. The resources that we have are only for the President but I think in future if we get a request we can ask the Ministry of Finance to foot the bill.

The state-controlled media has in its coverage of Tsvangirais trip attempted to reduce the Prime Minister to an errant boy send around by resident Robert Mugabe to plead with western leaders to lift sanctions imposed on Zanu (PF) and its allies.

In some case the Herald and other state news outlets have published stories almost celebrating refusal by Western countries to give direct financial support to Harare, presenting such decisions by American and European governments as a snub to Tsvangirai.

For example, the governments flagship Herald newspaper ran stories with headlines such as “Dutch Snub Tsvangirai” and “Tsvangirai to face American resistance.”

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