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Police search for "Zimbabwe Independent" journalists

(MISA/IFEX) - Police officers from the Law and Order section on 11 August 2011 visited the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) offices in search of editor Constantine Chimakure and senior political reporter Wongai Zhangazha, of the "Zimbabwe Independent" newspaper, over a story the paper published in its 8 July edition.

The visit was the second in less than a week.

Detectives Murira and Makore reportedly spoke to Chief Executive Officer Raphael Khumalo over a story entitled "Ministers rejected Kasukuwere plan". The detectives told Khumalo that they wanted Chimakure and Zhangazha to assist in investigations into who "leaked" the details of the story as it was based on Cabinet deliberations, which is an offence under the Official Secrets Act.

The story alleged that Zimbabwe's two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations resisted attempts by the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerments to re-introduce the National Youth Service training programme, arguing it was a Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) election strategy.

According to the "Zimbabwe Independent", Chimakure has since stated that the story did not originate from Cabinet but rather from senior officials in both ZANU PF and the MDC, as well as from non-governmental organisations. He stated that they were aware they could be charged under the Official Secrets Act if they were to write the story based on Cabinet proceedings.


BACKGROUND:

The search for Chimakure and Zhangazha is the fourth attack and harassment of media professionals in Zimbabwe in less than two months. It follows arrests of journalists in Ntabazinduna, an attack on journalists covering a public hearing on the Human Rights Bill at the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the arrest of a Kwekwe-based journalist while covering a community event.

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