CIO bars journalists from covering ZANU PF meeting

An overzealous senior CIO operative based in Masvingo on Sunday barred two independent journalists from covering a ZANU PF meeting convened by the party’s political commissar Webster Shamu.

Webster Shamu
Webster Shamu

The meeting was called to discuss events that led to ZANU PF groups engaging in open warfare, following the hotly disputed District Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections in the province.

The intelligence officer, identified as Huni and based at the district offices of the spooks in the town, instructed the two journalists, Tatenda Chitagu from NewsDay and Godfrey Mutimba from the Daily News not to enter the Chiefs Hall in Mucheke, the venue of the meeting.

SW Radio Africa is reliably informed Huni told the two scribes that they were not welcome to cover ‘their meeting’ implying he was part of the ZANU PF gathering. The senior spy, a well known figure in Masvingo asked a group of war vets to keep an eye on the two journalists, who were told to stand outside the gates to the Chiefs hall.

“The two scribes obliged and went and waited by the gate but Huni wanted them to move further from the premises at which the journalists remonstrated that he had no powers to control their movements on a street,” a source said.

While the meeting took place inside the hall, a group of war vets kept monitoring the movements of the two journalists, who had to wait 10 hours before the acrimonious meeting ended.

That meeting resulted in Shamu ordering the rerun of district polls in Chiredzi. But he reportedly upheld results from three other districts as the party battles to bring order in its structures riddled with factionalism.

It’s reported that Masvingo has a faction sympathetic to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in a decade long battle to outflank the other faction aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

Makusha Mugabe, an exiled Zimbabwean journalist told us he finds it unique that journalists were barred from covering a minister responsible for Information.

‘If that meeting was private ZANU PF should have used their marshalls to guard the entrance and not use a state security operative to be a doorman for them. This was a ZANU PF meeting and not a state function and the CIO should distinguish between the two.

‘The CIO is there for the country and not only for ZANU PF. This is why all progressive forces are calling for security sector reform to get rid of such abuse of power by state security agents,’ Mugabe said. – SW Radio Africa

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