Editorial: MDC-T must rein in malcontents

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THE alleged savage attack on Zimbabwe Independent journalist Herbert Moyo by MDC-T youths last Friday not only came as a shock, but raises questions about the party’s sincerity when it promises Zimbabweans a new culture of tolerance.

Southern Eye Editorial

Moyo was covering a demonstration by disgruntled MDC-T supporters at the party’s Harvest House headquarters when he was beaten up and dragged into the building by the youths.

According to reports, the humiliating treatment happened after Moyo identified himself as a journalist. The beatings only stopped after MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora was alerted about the abuse.

MDC-T has remained mum four days after the heinous crime committed by its members and this is unacceptable, especially coming from a party that claims to champion media freedom.

For a long time, Zimbabwean journalists — particularly those working for the privately-owned media — have been victims of harassment by Zanu PF politicians and their supporters.

The journalists have also been restricted in doing their work by repressive legislation.

In extreme cases, some have disappeared without trace while others were abducted by State security agents for simply doing their work.

Since its formation, the MDC-T has promised to reverse this dark culture and many support the party for that particular stance.

However, Friday’s incident not only raises questions about the party’s commitment to tolerance and freedom of the media, but also the validity of its claims that it upholds democratic values.

The party’s leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai must as a matter of urgency ensure that the thugs who attacked Moyo are brought to book if he still wants to be taken seriously.

Tsvangirai must also have the courage to apologise to the victim and the entire journalism fraternity.

Failure to handle this case responsibly may set a very bad precedent especially as the country inches closer to a high stakes election before the end of the year. History has taught us that politicians and their supporters tend to get carried away during elections and the culture of political violence has become engrained in our society.

If Moyo could be attacked at Harvest House, what guarantee do journalists covering MDC-T activities in remote parts of the country have that they will be safe?

Only decisive action by Tsvangirai and his party leadership against those behind Friday’s dastardly act will reassure the journalism fraternity that MDC-T has not lost the plot. MDC-T is now under pressure to demonstrate it is not just the same as Zanu PF.

1 COMMENT

  1. Why use kid cloves to admonish Tsvangirai & MDC-t over this attack on the journalist? I get the impression that you have unwillingly done so unless if the crime had been committed by ZANU PF. MDC -T is a violent party. Period. It is undemocratic & not fit to govern Zimbabwe.

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