SA’s future? Grace Mugabe attacks press, non-state journos ‘insane’

One of the key elements to Africa’s democracy is a free press, but this exact notion is constantly coming under attack. The below article questions Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe’s attack on the private press. A bigger concern is some experts believe she is positioning herself to take over from Robert Mugabe when he moves on. This may be a sign of things to come. The notion of press freedom is also constantly under the spotlight in South Africa, with the idea of a media tribunal being one of the topics addressed at the ANC’s recent NGC. The watchdog is under discussion, which generally means – job well done. – Stuart Lowman

News24 correspondent

Zimbabwe – A press watchdog in Zimbabwe said on Thursday it was “extremely concerned” after First Lady Grace Mugabe called journalists working for the private press insane.

Mugabe, 50, said journalists not working for state media were wrong to accuse her of vote-buying “because it is better to vote for someone who gives you something than someone who does not,” according to the official Herald newspaper.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (L) speaks to his wife Grace during the funeral of his sister, Bridget, in the village of Zvimba, 90 km (55 miles) west of Harare January 21 2014. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (L) speaks to his wife Grace during the funeral of his sister, Bridget, in the village of Zvimba, 90 km (55 miles) west of Harare. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

In comments that closely followed threats on the private press by President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, Grace Mugabe said the journalists were producing “rubbish”.

Read also: SA’s future? Mugabe fumes, so Zimbabwe to introduce new media-gagging laws

“We do not want senseless and nonsensical articles,” she was quoted as saying, holding up the state ZBC broadcaster’s diplomatic correspondent Judith Makwanya as an example for reporters to follow. Longtime reporter Makwanya apparently never criticises the Mugabe family or the Zanu-PF government.

MISA-Zimbabwe said Grace Mugabe’s words were part of a “relentless onslaught” against the private media.

Read also: Zimbabwe waits for Mugabe to go – but economic prospects are grim

Though elections are still three years away, the 91-year-old president’s wife has been holding a series of rallies at which she has made handsome donations of food, clothes and thousands of pairs of shoes.

Eyebrows have been raised at the fact that she travels in the presidential helicopter. Some analysts believe Grace Mugabe may be positioning herself to take over power when her husband dies.

Source: http://www.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/Grace-Mugabe-calls-journos-who-work-for-private-press-insane-report-20151015