Speaking in an emotionally charged interview with The Zimbabwean, Mathema, an influential lieutenant in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF), described the independent media as lacking patriotism and called them a threat to national sovereignty.
‘‘This so called private media has no place in this country. They are biased and are shameless fronts for the white people and the West. They should just pack their bags and join the BBC or Reuters and stop bothering us,’’ fumed Mathema.
‘‘The journalists who work for the Standard, Daily News and the other newspapers are silly idiots earning dirty money. I have written a book on the independent media and I know what I am talking about,’’ he added.
He described the official media as objective, patriotic and constructive. Mathema’s statements fly in the face of a lobby for media reform.
During her recent visit to Zimbabwe, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, insisted on the need to enact laws that ensured media freedom, particularly ahead of the next elections.
Mathema’s tirade was offset by an attempt by this newspaper to get his response to claims by sources within the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches that he had approached them to organise a peace prayer meeting in Bulawayo to be addressed by President Robert Mugabe.
Recently, another prayer meeting was held in the city but, according to the sources, Mathema frustrated their attempts to have Mugabe attend, saying he did not want him to share the podium with Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC, who was present at that meeting.
He dismissed the report saying, ‘‘I don’t know anything about those prayer meetings’’. – TM/ZNPost published in: News