AHEAD of this year’s harmonised elections, the ruling Zanu PF has said it is committed to engaging, upholding and safeguarding the rights and needs of the media.
Through President Mnangagwa’s open-door policy, Zanu PF has been on an engagement offensive, meeting various stakeholders.
The party has convened meetings with the SADC Observer team, which was in the country recently, the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU), and the National Peace and Reconciliation Committee (NPRC) among others.
Speaking at a Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) symposium at the Zanu PF headquarters yesterday, the ruling party’s Secretary-General, Cde Obert Mpofu, said sustained dialogue between political parties and media players was in tandem with the party’s First Secretary, President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement stance.
“We want to reiterate that in the New Dispensation, our focus as a party is to ensure that we engage with all relevant stakeholders including the media fraternity.
“This is devoid of the adversarial and tenuous relationship which has often punctuated such engagements. In light of this, we want to commend you for taking a patriotic step to request this roundtable meeting with a specific focus on engaging our senior party leadership on the state of readiness and a discussion on the operating environment for the media during the 2023 national harmonised elections,” he said.
Cde Mpofu said the media played a crucial role in keeping the nation abreast of developments happening across the country, more so during election time.
However, he urged the media to be factual and ethical in their reportage during the polls as this would be a sensitive time.
“I would also like at the outset to set the tone for our candid discussions by acknowledging and emphasising that His Excellency, the President and First Secretary of our colossal party ZANU PF, Cde Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, has insistently directed that in this journey of building our country, we ‘Leave No One Behind’.
“Therefore, it is appropriate that we have afforded you this space to dialogue. As we steadfastly approach the impending national harmonised elections, our Government has opened the space and relaxed the operating environment for journalists so that you report without any hindrances or impediments,” Cde Mpofu said.
“I continuously proffer that this profession is a calling for all of you, hence the need to abide by ethics, values of fairness, lack of bias, objectivity, truthfulness, integrity, and probity in reporting on issues.”
Zanu PF Deputy Secretary for National Security, Cde Tendai Chirau, echoed Cde Mpofu’s sentiments by imploring journalists to desist from extorting sources or soliciting bribes.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary general Perfect Hlongwane encouraged political parties to guarantee the safety of journalists, while also pledging that they would ensure that media practitioners remain within professional lines.
“We need to complement one another and work together,” he said.
The meeting was attended by other senior party officials and media stakeholders.