Zimbabwe Online Content Creators Condemns Attack On Journalists
30 August 2022
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The Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (ZOCC) notes with serious concern and condemns in the strongest terms the brutal attack of journalists in Gokwe recently and generally the continuing attacks on journalists and media freedom in Zimbabwe.

Four journalists suffered grave bodily harm and psychological trauma on August 25 when Zanu PF members attacked them with booted legs and clenched fists for taking pictures and videos of what was happening in Gokwe.

The rowdy party members who had beaten up a police officer in charge a day prior, were indiscriminately attacking bystanders around Chitekete shopping centre in Gokwe.

The party members were driving in a well-orchestrated party vehicle convoy of more than 20 marked and unmarked 4×4 trucks pounced on the journalists after they recorded their unusual activity and movement around the centre.

The irate party members blamed the journalists for recording the activity and told them to mind their own business after assaulting them.

The remote Gokwe shopping growth point resembled a war zone area as scandidates where mopping up their campaigns for the Saturday By-Elections, with a tense environment setting the tone.

Journalists Toneo Rutsito, Tongai Mwenje, Pellagia Mpurwa and a media intern, Chelsea Mashayamombe were left for dead on the tarmac after being beaten up indiscriminately while the whole shopping centre watched in awe.

Pelagia was left unconscious, Toneo lost his tooth, Tongai suffered a cut on his face while Chelsea was left bruised.

A man who identified himself as a state security officer travelling in the vehicle with the District Coordinating Councillor offered the journalists assistance and consolation.

The vehicles were escorting government ministers to the venue namely, Larry Mavhima the minister for provincial affairs in midlands and and Mike Bimha, the Minister of State for Industry and Commerce who is also the Zanu Pf commissar .

Notably none of the vehicles had the usual rowdy party supporter carried on the back of the trucks, but all delegates comfortably sat, the same who descended upon journalists.

Suspected driver for Gokwe aspring MP, Spencer Tshuma joined some two identified ladies to beat up female journalist before ransacking the vehicles and took away mobile phones and broadcast equipment.

A police report has since been made at the Chitekete police post with RRB Number 5075130.

As Online Content Creators, we expect the Police service to conduct itself professionally and make arrests of the attackers who are well known by their organizers.

In the interest of media freedoms and rights of journalists, ZOCC further takes note of the deteriorating environment for safety of journalists in Zimbabwe and calls on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to be accountable and restrain his party members from engaging in unprovoked attacks against journalists and other citizens.

As the fourth Estate, the media remains a vital cog in holding power to account and must enjoy unfettered access to ports of information without fearing for their personal security.

The incidences in Gokwe, must never be repeated should the state and media continue to enjoy a cordial relationship.

Journalism is not a crime, and should thus be treated with the respect it deserves.

We are closely following up on the case with the leads and expecting the government to swiftly act accordingly as per the law dictates.

Yvonne Muchaka

Central Chapter Secretary

For and On behalf of the Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (ZOCC) Board