We take journalism seriously

Source: We take journalism seriously – The Zimbabwe Independent June 30, 2017

Allow me to express a modicum of rancour at Jacob Francis Mudenda, the Zanu PF politburo member and Speaker of the National Assembly, who has hurled all manner of unjust accusations against the Zimbabwe Independent this week.

Editor’s Memo Brezhnev Malaba

Mudenda is a lawyer by profession. I happen to know he has previously worked as a lecturer of English. I still cannot wrap my mind around his refusal to live with the fact that, among all the newspapers in this country today, we are the most rigorous in our approach to objectivity, fairness, balance and professionalism.

He has the temerity to accuse the Independent of “brown envelope reporting”. I challenge him to come out in the open and prove his allegations. Surely, it is trite law that he who alleges must prove. But of course, we all know that the man was merely politicking.

Without a doubt, our coverage of the plot to oust Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere has been the most comprehensive of any publication. And unlike the shallow efforts of other newspapers which have been anchored on conjecture, speculation and hearsay, our news stories have been based on vital documents.

We do not write stories from a position of ignorance; we are forever guided by the facts and, as we all appreciate, facts are sacrosanct. Mudenda, more than anyone else, ought to understand the dangers of post-truth politics.

When politicians fight for power, the fallout is often nasty and brutish. The national commissar of an established political party is a very senior official. Any attempt to oust such a high-ranking official is bound to be resisted.

The ensuing rumpus can only create turbulence, disharmony and friction. From where I am seated, this is the context in which Mudenda is now seeing sinister shadows everywhere.

On Page 4 today, within the confines of available space, we have summarised the saga for ease of reference. As the record will show, the Independent has reported factually, truthfully and objectively from the very beginning of this matter. We have no dog in this factional fight.

As far as journalism is concerned, there is no better definition of a thorough job than what we have delivered here. We have published the accusations emanating from the co-ordinated brouhaha and the subsequent “charges” levelled against Kasukuwere.

We could have ended there — as some newspapers have done — but we have gone further by reporting on the findings and recommendations of the Mudenda probe team.

For reasons best known to Mudenda, it appears he has chosen to disregard the acres of space we have dedicated to the findings of his probe team. Instead, he chooses to cast aspersions on our solid coverage of a matter that is in the public interest. I challenge him to show us any newspaper which has reported more extensively and comprehensively on his probe report than the Independent.

Again, we can confidently assert that, had we opted to stop covering the saga at that stage, we still would have done a thorough job in the eyes of any level-headed person. But we did not end there. We proceeded to report comprehensively on the heated exchanges which had erupted during the high-octane politburo meeting. Other voices in that politburo meeting, for instance Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Christopher Mushohwe, were properly reported on.

And to our credit, we carried no less than two stories on that meeting. Can Mudenda show me any newspaper which has been more thorough than us in that regard?

Having considered all the material facts, I am convinced that whatever angered him has nothing to do with the facts but everything to do with political point-scoring.

The Independent adheres to basic journalistic standards as spelt out in the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) guidelines: How we put accuracy to the test, the AMH code of ethics and the AMH pledge whose tenets are fundamental to our operations.