Zimbabwean journalist gets death threats from ruling party Councillor

Foster Dongozi
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, ZUJ, has said it is deeply concerned by increasing threats to journalists working in Masvingo Province.

This  follows  threats made to Hevoi FM News Editor  Regis Chingawu by a ruling  Zanu PF councillor, Sengerayi Manyanga.

The councillor reportedly wants to control  the radio station’s social media policy  but his attempts have  been thwarted.

Chingawu,  a member of the ZUJ National Executive, told the national office last night that he did not feel safe and believed his life was now in danger.

The threats  were made at the radio station’s offices   towards  midnight on  Saturday  28 December in Masvingo town.

The small community of journalists in Masvingo  has been left traumatised by the developments  as they have recorded  a huge  increase in threats to freedom of expression in the province in the last quarter of the year.

According to information received from Masvingo, the councillor for ward 10 in Masvingo town  is reported to have laid an ambush at the Hevoi FM News offices on the night.

Upon realising that Chingawu would not reveal himself , the councillor angrily  confronted the security officer at the radio station and demanded to know Chingawu’s whereabouts and  threatened to mobilize  against the senior journalist.

The councillor was accompanied by a mob which remained in the background as he laid siege on the radio station.

A police report was made at Masvingo Central Police Station yesterday.

ZUJ Secretary General Foster Dongozi  said the issue of the safety and security of journalists continued to be a major concern for the Union with political parties and some security forces continuing to be the major culprits.

“We have also noticed a worrying trend in Masvingo Province in which the safety of journalists  is threatened by rogue politicians and  security details.

“The same rogue councillor has threatened to close another media organisation   in the province while Masvingo Mirror senior journalist Nkulumani Mlambo was  hounded out of a public event attended by donors by security aides in Chiredzi recently.”

The Secretary General called on the Zanu PF leadership in Masvingo to condemn acts of violence and impunity against journalists and freedom of expression.

“If journalists are harmed in Masvingo  we will know who the culprits are. But beyond that, we can also  see that there are some rogue and  renegade elements who want to frustrate Zimbabwe’s global re engagement  policy by continuing to soil its image so that it  remains a pariah state.

“The government has assured  us at the highest level that it does not have a policy of impunity against journalists and we would want it to take stern measures against those violating the rights and safety of journalists.”

Source – Byo24