Zimbabwe Journo Beaten Up By Zanu (PF) Thugs

Masvingo, – News Day correspondent for Masvingo province Tatenda Chitagu was on Sunday severely assaulted by Zanu (PF) thugs here when he was covering the party's provincial conference.\r\n

Chitagu, was beaten at a conference of the party attended by national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo and Information Minister Webster Shamu.

The journalist had wanted to cover the conference held at the Masvingo Poly College and also attended by journalists from state-owned media. However, he was surprised to see party youth approaching him and he was later asked to leave the venue. Before he walked out of the gate, youth who were in a Toyota Hilux followed him and assaulted him before confiscating his notebooks, pens and camera.

They accused Chitagu of trespassing saying the meeting was only supposed to be covered by journalists from state media.

“I did not know that it was a crime to cover their conference. I saw them following me and I tried to run away but I could not outpace them, they were using a car,” said Chitagu. "I am worried and scared. I do not know what these people might do to me later. They might come later and beat me up again,” he told Radio VOP.

RadioVOP was later informed by impeccable sources within Zanu PF Chitagu’s attack was directed by a party’s politburo member in the province.

The politburo member did not want anyone from NewsDay or private media to attend. "He is not happy with the articles written about him grabbing Bikita Minerals and the power struggles in the province,” said the source.

Moyo, who was the guest of honour at the conference told party supporters from all over the province that independent media was a major stumbling block to the party.

“People like Zanu (PF) but our major challenge is the independent media. Our people are made to believe negative reports they read about us in the private media and if we are to enter in any election as we want, then we should come up with a solution to this problem,” Moyo said.