Vultures circle Daily News again

via Vultures circle Daily News again – DailyNews Live 28 November 2014

HARARE – Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) — publishers of the Daily News, the Daily News on Sunday and the Weekend Post — says it has taken note of lapdog State media reports that Zanu-PF has approached the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) “to register a complaint” against the country’s leading daily, the Daily News.

The government-controlled Herald newspaper said yesterday that controversial Zanu PF Harare youth chairperson Godwin Gomwe had allegedly complained to the ZMC and the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), on behalf of his party, over a story in which the popular daily graphically highlighted the party’s ugly and increasingly violent infighting.

The Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday were violently and unjustly shut down by President Robert Mugabe’s government in September 2003 for telling the Zimbabwean story like it is, without fear or favour.

ANZ was only given the green light to re-launch its newspapers after nearly eight years of the company’s forced closure.

Before the inappropriately-named Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) was hastily cobbled together and used to silence the Daily News then, the government had routinely harassed the inimitable paper and its staff, culminating in a heinous bombing of its printing presses in January 2001 by suspected State agents who were never brought to book.

Over the past three-and-a-half-years that the Daily News has been back, it has been hit with dozens of spurious and vexatious lawsuits, running into hundreds of millions of American dollars, by a number of Zanu PF bigwigs and others associated with the ruling party.

But very revealingly, none of the litigants have to date won a single case against the newspaper, with many of the cases often being withdrawn before they are heard in the courts.

First Lady Grace Mugabe has also been on a crusade against the Daily News in the past few weeks, going to the extent of lying brazenly and unashamedly that embattled Vice President Joice Mujuru holds a 10 percent stake in the paper — and that its writers were being bribed by her Zanu PF detractors to criticise her.

In yesterday’s Herald report, the paper said Gomwe had addressed his letter to ZMC chief executive officer Tafataona Mahoso and VMCZ executive director Loughty Dube, allegedly demanding a retraction and an apology from the paper.

Curiously, but typical of the modus operandi of a faction in the sharply divided party, Gomwe has not once complained to the Daily News directly about any of the newspaper’s stories, and his alleged letter to the ZMC and VCMZ, which was availed to The Herald, was not sent or copied to the Daily News. The Daily News was only served with the VMCZ papers late yesterday.

The story that he is allegedly complaining about appeared in the Tuesday edition of the Daily News under the headline “Bloodbath in Zanu PF”, with Gomwe, who has been mired in violent acts within the party, supposedly alleging that the article portrayed the goings-on within the party “as extraordinary and violent”.

ANZ Group Editor Stanley Gama said the newspaper stood “100 percent” behind its stories and was “relaxed” about the alleged approach to ZMC and VMCZ.

“We are taking this alleged complaint with the appropriate circumspection that it deserves from a leading media house such as ours, also fully understanding where all this is coming from and what the intention behind this sorry attention-seeking is.

“I don’t know whether there is a living soul, or one who is together mentally and emotionally who does not know that there is hectic factionalism within Zanu PF and that there have been many incidents of violence within the party associated with this ugly infighting.”

“For Pete’s sake, even President Mugabe and his wife Grace have publicly acknowledged this sad state of affairs,” Gama said.