The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists yesterday condemned alleged threats made to journalists during First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe’s rally at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera last week.
Winding up her speech on the last leg of her Meet the People Tour, the First Lady jokingly urged journalists to desist from accepting bribes from some politicians to write negative stories about her.
Drawing laughter from some of the journalists and the crowd that attended the event, the First Lady said some of the people leading factions in Zanu-PF had shares in some newspapers that were writing negatively about her.
“Anonyepa ndeupi apa, wekuDaily News ndeupi? Weku Newsday ndeupi? Hona varikutarisa pasi. Group rese rakagara apa ndaona kuti ndopairi MDC. How much are you paid to write negative things about Amai Mugabe. Are you happy about that?
“I pray for you because you do not know anything. Inzara here? Masanctions abaya? Endai kunaleader wenyu Tsvangirai muti tobaiwa nemasanctions. Writing sensational stories is because you want to eat. This is not proper.
“We do not hate you, but we pray for you to know what is good and bad. Ungabva wadaro amai vako nekuda kwe$200. Dai zvaiita kuti vadongorere pahwindo raMai Mugabe vachigeza vaidongorera ava,” she said jokingly.
While taking note of the allegations of bribery made by the First Lady against the journalists, zuj yesterday said that the statements amounted to threats.
“The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, zuj, would like to take note of serious concerns raised by First Lady Grace Mugabe alleging that some journalists were receiving money to write negative stories about her,” zuj said in the statement.
“Our response is that as a union, zuj condemns in very strong terms any corrupt activities that may involve journalists and we have embarked on a lot of activities to improve professionalism, ethical conduct and quality journalism.
“We also hold a very dim view of those who may seek to influence stories and their publication through money or other forms of inducements.”