By Leopold Munhende, Chief Correspondent
ZANU PF has promised to ensure safety of journalists and their professional treatment at its functions by party members before, during or after the upcoming general elections in August.
Speaking at a meeting with journalists Tuesday, the ruling party Secretary General Obert Mpofu said abusing journalists was not a party policy but the work of bad apples within the organisation who would never at any point have been given such an instruction.
The meeting was arranged by Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) and attended by representatives of Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe and senior reporters.
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa or members of the Politburo have never talked of journalists’ harassment in a manner that interferes with their operations,” said Mpofu.
“The President himself has gone out to denounce those that harass journalists. We are a friend to all and an enemy to none.
“I want to assure you as Zanu PF that should there be any instance where the party creates a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable let us know.
“Those who harass journalists are individuals who claim to be party members, it is not the party directing it, that is not our party’s policy.”
This meeting followed similar ones held with the command structure of Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) across the country.
They are meant to create rapport between election stakeholders and ensure safety and professional treatment of journalists while also lending an ear to grievances raised by those outside the media industry.
ZRP Spokesperson Paul Nyathi is on record calling for journalists to meet with political players and ensure elimination of violence towards them.
Zimbabwe has for over ten years carried with a bad boy tag as a result of journalists’ abuses, some of which have affected its global standing in respect of media rights and freedom of expression.
The next port of call is expected to be the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) on Friday, followed by another with MDC Alliance.