via Moyo warns against Cabinet ‘leaks’ – New Zimbabwe 28/05/2015
GOVERNMENT Thursday night issued the strongest warning yet against both officers and newspapers who exchange information on cabinet and Zanu PF politburo proceedings, saying those caught doing so would face the wrath of the law.
In a statement, information minister Jonathan Moyo said, “recent leaks to selected media quarters by alleged Zanu-PF politburo and Cabinet sources are a cause for great concern,” adding that government would “leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the matter in order to nip out the rot”.
This was the strongest threat from Moyo since he was reappointed information minister in 2013.
At his reappointment, Moyo sought to extend an olive branch to media players by visiting all newsrooms saying it was time to normalise relations after stormy relations that characterised his earlier tenure in the same portfolio between 2000 and 2004.
Moyo’s comments come after a local daily paper recently published a story in which Mugabe was said to have told a politburo meeting that he owed business man Ray Kaukonde $30m.
The report immediately sparked a reaction with top government and Zanu PF officials telling the state media that the NewsDay had lied. Moyo went a step further to claim that the source of the story was one Goodson Nguni, a Zanu PF apologist and NGO activist who is neither a politburo member nor a government official.
Nguni replied to say Moyo was falsely accusing him, adding this was in keeping with the information minister’s alleged mission to “destroy Zanu PF from within”.
Moyo then issued a statement saying the leaks were “unacceptable” as they were a “breach” to the law “including the oath of office”.
He said the leaks were “disturbing” in that they had “no factual basis” and they were “false in content and therefore misleading to the public”.
He added: “The alleged Cabinet and politburo sources of the recent leaks have been invented and therefore non-existent or have been second hand as in the case of NewsDay’s May 25 false claim that President Mugabe allegedly told last Thursday’s politburo meeting that he owes businessman Ray Kaukonde $30 million.
“Despite the self-evident fact that the leaks have been about patently false allegations and that their sources have been exposed to be either nonexistent or second hand, the peddlers of the leaks have cynically sought to defend these invented sources under Section 61(2) of the Constitution which protects the confidentiality of journalists’ sources of information.
“This is cynical because the Constitution does not protect falsehoods based on invented or non-existent sources”.
Moyo further attacked the NewsDay saying it was “curious” that the paper was “petulantly persistent in unprofessionally and unethically seeking to incite public disaffection against President Mugabe by publishing blatant falsehoods”.
He said apart from the Kaukonde story, the paper had previously written a false story which claimed that Cabinet meetings had been skipped due to Mugabe’s absence.
The minister then said: “The unrelenting onslaught must stop and if those responsible for NewsDay are incapable of discharging their professional and ethical responsibilities, then the law will assist them”.
He added: “In the same vein, the practice of scandalous leaks to the media by government and party officials who are constitutionally sworn into secrecy because of the nature of their responsibilities will no longer be tolerated without fear or favour.
“More-so because some of these officials are abusing their positions to manufacture and to leak naked lies”.
NewsDay was recently forced to apologise after it was proven that the Cabinet had indeed sat during the periods the paper claimed meetings had been skipped.