HARARE – Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa has openly defied President Mugabe’s directive against party officials talking to “opposition papers” and fanning factionalism.
In recent weeks, Zanu-PF officials allegedly aligned to the faction led by Vice President Joice Mujuru, including party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, have been granting interviews to the opposition-linked newspapers in a bid to prop up VP Mujuru who is under fire on allegations of trying to subvert President Mugabe and being involved in corrupt deals.
Members of the same faction have also come up with slogans denouncing The Herald, while Cde Gumbo convened an unusual press conference on Friday last week to mount an intemperate attack on the paper.
On Tuesday, Mutasa gave an interview to the Daily News in which he claimed that Zimpapers titles The Herald, The Sunday Mail and Chronicle had an agenda against VP Mujuru. He also urged the papers not to report on corruption allegations, but “cover up” for the “nakedness of elders”.
Interestingly, in February this year, VP Mujuru attacked the media for exposing the “salarygate scandal” where parastatal bosses’ corruption and malfeasance were uncovered, saying the revelations were meant to destroy Zanu-PF. Mutasa told the Daily News: “Newspapers attacking the Vice President are offside. Kana mukuru akatadza ndimi munotomufukidza. Inga Bhaibheri rinotaura kudaro. Mukaona asina kupfeka musakwichidzira asi kutomufukidza.
“Kana Herald richituka vakuru vanhu havacharitenge (If an elder does wrong you do not laugh at him, but take him aside and privately correct him. You should not fan factionalism. Because The Herald is attacking party leaders people have stopped reading it.”
Herald Editor Caesar Zvayi said yesterday that the comments by Mutasa were misplaced as the paper only reported on corruption allegations and wondered how that was equivalent to “attacking vakuru”.
He also questioned where Mutasa got his statistics on the alleged falling of The Herald readership. “National surveys such as Zamps (Zimbabwe All Media Product Survey) have shown that we are always ahead of our competition,” the Herald Editor said. Herald