MDC violence against State media journalists reared its ugly head on Sunday when the party’s leader Nelson Chamisa’s security team beat up a ZBC senior staffer (name withheld) at a rally at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru.
The security team assaulted the journalist and attempted to drag him out of the stadium, accusing ZBC of reporting negatively on their party.
“You do not belong here, you report lies about us,” shouted one of the security team’s members.
Mr Chamisa had to intervene and rescue the reporter as the hooligans bayed for his blood. Another group of MDC youths swarmed the ZBC vehicle and threatened to beat up the news crew that was covering the rally, resulting in the reporters leaving the event in a haste.
This is not the first time that MDC hooligans have harassed a ZBC news crew. Addressing reporters, Mr Chamisa could not hide his dislike of the public broadcaster, saying it needed to be reformed.
“We do not want them to have a monopoly over television broadcasting. We want more television stations in this country. Let ZBC be reformed and we have independent radio stations, not to have a single television channel for 39 years,” he said.
Mr Chamisa inadvertently confirmed that he was holding the country to ransom and would source money from America if President Mnangagwa bows down to his demands.
The MDC youths once manhandled ZBC reporters at the same venue last year, accusing the public broadcaster of reporting “negatively and falsehoods” about their party. In March last year, Herald Senior Reporter Zvamaida Murwira and freelance journalist Anna Chibamu were also attacked at Harvest House while covering a Press conference to confirm Mr Chamisa as the leader of the party.
Herald photographer Tawanda Mudimu was manhandled by MDC thugs in May last year while covering a demonstration by activists that were protesting against imposition of candidates ahead of the harmonised elections. In 2016, MDC youths also burnt a vehicle belonging to the State broadcaster during protests organised by the party’s youth wing.
In 2013, the late MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s aides manhandled Chronicle senior reporter Mashudu Netsianda before confiscating his notebook and deleting recordings from his mobile phone while covering a meeting of the party’s former leader and the Bulawayo business community.
Private media journalists have also not been spared, with former Zimbabwe Independent reporter Herbert Moyo severely assaulted by MDC-T security personnel at Harvest House while covering a demonstration by party activists.