The MDC condemns the secrecy around the commission of inquiry which is handling a serious issue of national interest involving the deaths of at least seven Zimbabwean citizens.
Today, scores of journalists were denied access to the inquiry venue at a local hotel. The biggest conference room at the said hotel has no capacity to hold as low as fifty persons which creates problems for an enquiry of this magnitude.The barring of scribes from accessing the venue with the exception of the ZBC is unacceptable. It is against the principle of media diversity, it infringes freedom of expression but more importantly impedes the citizen’s access to information.We are also concerned about a seemingly developing trend in respect of which journalists are barred from publicizing proceedings of public interest. Live streaming of a historical presidential election petition at the Constitutional Court was also barred, only the ZBC was given exclusive rights. This idea of classifying journalists creates problems in our society; it is part of the reason why vigilante groups ended up burning Alpha Media Holdings publications.More importantly this is a matter of public interest, it cannot be privatized. Zimbabweans are looking for answers, the process which is supposed to provide the answers cannot therefore be a members club only.
In any case this issue is not exempt from the old adage” Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.”
The Commission already has problems of preemptive terms of references and conflicted members including Zanu PF card carrying members. A new challenge of secrecy must not be added to a process already suffering from deficiency of credibility.