By- Security details guarding the first lady Auxilia Mnangagwa have chucked out a group of Bulawayo-based journalists covering the celebration of the city’s centenarian residents.
Auxilia was officiating at the event held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair on Thursday.
ZimLive.com reports that it turned out those who were permitted to cover the function were Harare-based ZBC and Herald journalists who now form her entourage.
Journalists based in Bulawayo were initially allowed to cover a march from the City Hall to the ZITF before the first lady arrived.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a journalist said Mnangagwa’s security was very open in its position that only journalists assigned to cover the first lady were the only ones welcome. ZimLive.com cites the journalist as saying:
The boys in suits surrounded one photographer who was taking pictures and asked him what he was doing. They told him that the first lady has her own team.
They then approached the Provincial Information Officer and instructed him to get all the Bulawayo-based journalist out of the venue which he did.
This is a Bulawayo event and the centenarians being celebrated are our people from the city. Since we were denied the opportunity to cover them, our listeners have been denied the right to hear about this event
Journalists who were barred from the event also felt mistreated by the first lady’s communications team which failed to inform them beforehand that they were not welcome.
The event to celebrate and honour the city`s senior citizens who are 100 years and above was organised by the SPA Community Trust in conjunction with various organisations which include the Bulawayo City Council.
Last week the same happened in Marondera, where Auxilia’s photographer, John Madzongo, chased private media journalists from a Prison event.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe has reminded authorities to allow all journalists to enjoy their constitutionally-guaranteed rights of access to information of public interest.