Daily News under siege

HARARE - The Daily News is facing a fresh State onslaught following false claims by Zimbabwe’s controversial First Lady Grace Mugabe late last year that former Vice President Joice Mujuru owns a 10 percent stake in the newspaper.

Police have now obtained a court order, signed by Harare Provincial Magistrate Vakayi Douglas Chikwekwe on December 18, 2014, authorising them to search and seize key documents pertaining to the ownership of the newspaper’s parent company Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ).

Two police officers from the CID law and order section stormed the company’s Harare offices on Tuesday, armed with the warrant of seizure.

One of the police details identified himself only as Superintendent Viera, while his colleague flatly refused to do so.

Grace first made the outrageous claim that Mujuru had bought a 10 percent shareholding in the country’s leading newspaper, the Daily News, while addressing one of her controversial “Meet the People” rallies at her vast Mazowe business hub in October last year.

Addressing mainly war collaborators and youths, she accused Zimbabwe’s top-selling daily — that was violently and unjustly shut down by her husband’s government in September 2003, and which only returned to the news stalls in late March 2011 — of publishing negative stories about her in the alleged service of Mujuru.

“Don’t be surprised to see negative stories of me every day. She (Mujuru) bought 10 percent of Daily News. Daily News yakatengwa ndosaka muchiona vachingonyora nezvangu (She bought the Daily News that’s why they criticise me),” she said basely without batting an eyelid.

A week earlier, the quarrelsome and increasingly influential First Lady brazenly incited Zanu PF supporters against journalists from the newspaper at another rally held in Marondera, alleging that the country’s number one media brand was being used by factional leaders to wage a war against her.

Commenting light-heartedly at the time on Grace’s utterances, ANZ group editor Stanley Gama said he could only thank the First Lady for working so hard to market the popular daily “with such admirable zeal”.

“It is good to see that Mrs Mugabe continues to confirm very openly the fact that she, her husband and her family are avid readers of our paper, which is understandable given that hundreds of thousands of other Zimbabweans have long decided that our winning, credible journalism is the best on the market,” he said.

“While she is plainly wrong about Mrs Mujuru having shares in the Daily News, I must also, nevertheless, thank the First Lady for continuing to market our inimitable paper with such admirable zeal, particularly today where she did this without inciting violence against our staff,” Gama said.

But there was neither humour nor a festive spirit in the conduct of the two police officers who stormed the newspaper’s offices this week.

The court order that they carried and which took a surprisingly long two weeks to effect, was given by Chikwekwe in terms of section 54(2)(b) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

It directed the police to search for details of ANZ’s shareholders — information that is easily obtainable from the Registrar of Companies and from media regulation authorities.

Even more surprising, the warrant of seizure itself that they brought to the Daily News’s offices suggested that they already had this information anyway, rendering their mission almost pointless.

Part of the warrant directed that ANZ directors “provide copies of list and details (particulars) of shareholders pertaining to the current allotment for ANZ and any other documents in relation to the said shareholder allotment”.

It further suggested, rather revealingly, that “an offence of criminal abuse of office as defined in section 174 of the Criminal law codification and Reform Act has been committed” — an allegation that Mujuru’s Zanu PF enemies have consistently directed at her.

However, the warrant did not identify who the actual accused was, and was also silent on the nature and details of the alleged offence, just as it did not say where the offence was committed as well as the supposed beneficiary of the abuse.

Alec Muchadehama, the ANZ’s lawyer, said yesterday that the police details who visited the Daily News had flatly refused to shed light on the identity of not just the accused, but also the complainant.

“We are considering challenging the validity of the warrant,” he said.

Although he had availed to authorities on Wednesday the “relatively insignificant” information that they wanted, Muchadehama had still objected to the police regarding the fact that the warrant of search and seizure did not identify anyone as the accused, “which essentially made it irregular and incapable of being executed”.

Meanwhile, lickspittle State media had already reported earlier this week that police were investigating “high-profile corruption cases” involving firms linked to Mujuru and had already allegedly “retrieved vital documents” that could form the core of the probe.

“Sources said that much headway had been made in the last few days, but would not shed more light for fear of jeopardising the investigations.

“We are still in the process of searching the companies and we have found some of the evidence we need. We have not yet questioned her (Mujuru) but we will definitely do so,” a source allegedly told The Herald.

The paper also reported that it had it “on good authority” that findings had since been presented to senior officers at Police General Headquarters in Harare.

“The matter is being handled as a sensitive issue and senior police officers are being briefed on a daily basis on the latest developments,” it said.

The team probing targeted companies was allegedly led by Chief Superintendent Luckson Mukazhi, who is said to have visited some of the companies to carry out the investigations.

This followed the issuance of warrants by the courts to search companies allegedly linked to Mujuru and her other assets after she was fired from Government for behaviour inconsistent with the discharge of her duties as a public official.

The Daily News only came back to the market just over three years ago after it was unjustly shut down in 2003 by President Robert Mugabe’s government for “telling it like it is” as its motto goes.

The newspaper and its staff have been under incessant threats and pressure from Zanu PF bigwigs since it came back, including facing hundreds of millions of American dollars in vexatious lawsuits, 99 of which never even reach the courts.

Until Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s contested electoral victories last year, the newspaper was banned from circulating in certain parts of the country, with its editorial staff often still barred from covering some State functions.

Zanu PF apparatchiks have also routinely tried, unsuccessfully, to allege falsely that the newspaper is a beneficiary of Western donor funding.

A company spokesman said yesterday that they were watching events very closely.

“It is obviously of concern that ANZ is once again being put under unnecessary and unjust pressure by some in positions of power, when we should all be working together to strengthen the country’s nascent democracy and the well-being of its people.

“We are, however, confident that common sense will prevail soon, particularly seeing that the information that law enforcement agents say they are looking for is available publicly.”Daily News under siege

Comments (22)

what crime is there in Mujuru owning a mere 10% in A.N.Z?

mageza - 1 January 2015

hama dzangu, mose makatora nguva yenyu to post comments on this forum, i wish you a happy new year particularly @gatsi rusere, @dr know, @musona, the new found @mushurugwi, the obviously zanu hardliner @reason, @der, @dubulaanyika and all who posted comments. one thing that seems common among us is the passion we share for our country. my prayer is that God will somehow enable our land to prosper once again that we may be proud to be zimbabweans. last, a very happy new year to the daily news and its staff. i wish you the best in 2015.

taurai - 1 January 2015

taurai - chimu CIO cheku ma hosteri wakuvharisa daily news iwe. benzi remunhu. basa rekutarisa kuti vanhu varikunyoreyi haunyare.

Der - 1 January 2015

The current government has gone bankrupt and insolvent in all respects.What are they trying to achieve by going behind Mai Mujurus riches?Why is it that the ministers and even the President himself has not yet declared all where he got his wealth up to date?We have scandalous people in the government who have been always centres of corrupt activities and disorderly acts like Chombo,Kasukuwere,Mpofu just to mention a few but nothing was done to put all to clarity but its only mai Mujuru.Does the President thinks we Zimbabweans are that ignorant?He has abused power for too long to be pushed into the dustbin

carson Macate - 1 January 2015

Thank you very much Taurai for expressing such a deep sentiment that clearly shows you are a mature and forward looking compatriots like all other our compatriots that you mentioned.sure we have or we share one and the same thing-we carry first and foremost Zimbabwe at heart

carson Macate - 1 January 2015

Mwari pindirai. Mapere aye atanga futi.

Kt - 1 January 2015

Ko kana vakawana Dr Mujuru vasina mhosva vachavadzorera uVice President here,vagosungisa Fesiti Redhi nokureva nhema?

Bugwa - 1 January 2015

What exactly is now wrong with owning 10% ye ANZ ? I thought these idiots spoke about indeginisation, nhasi zvaipa.

maiwe zimbabwe yacho - 1 January 2015

Taura hako @Mageza and @Maiwe Zimbabwe Yacho. Ko kana dai Dr Mujuru vaine 10% yacho, so what? Inga Gono chaiye anonzi ndiye muridzi we Financial Gazette but hatisati tambonzwa kuti Dr Amai Grace vakatiwo nanganga nepaper iri asi tichiziva kutipaper irori rakavasonawo panyaya dzehumbwata whawo. Blood is thicker than water, as they say.

Dopori - 1 January 2015

Don't be fooled Daily News. There is murderou method to all this madness. This is to cow and silence the newspaper.

Khumalo - 1 January 2015

Thanks taurai. I also wish everyone a Happy New Year! I actually learn a lot on this forum, and wish to thank all the contributors who take their time and patience to post and respond to posts. I wish daily news had a better forum for discussion, but will use what is there. hapy 2015!

Gatsi Rusere - 1 January 2015

@Der, usadaro shamwari. Uri munhu iwe, don't let the computer rob you of your humanity.

Gatsi Rusere - 1 January 2015

Here we go again.when i worked at this paper they (i.e. the police) would raid it at leat twice a week.. It became so regular , and ridiculous, that I got on a first name basis with some of the officers who were assigned on these missions...asking me what they should study to get into a marketing career Lol!!! It gradually became worse and led to the closure of the paper. Lets hope that this time our government, in a search for scape goats for its own corruption, does not shut down one of the few voices of truth and democracy in the country. Aluta continua ANZ

freed - 1 January 2015

The last time I checked, zanu pf government put up a law where they said they will take 51% stake in companies. "Indegenization laws" The country is in state of a mess with these counter productive laws. Mujuru does not have a case to answer at Country's laws in connection with this allaged 10% stake BUT she has a case to answer within "zanu pf CULT's unwritten laws" If you associate with any perceived enemy of zanu pf. Then you are guilt. If it is proven that Mujuru does have the 10% stake a Zanu pf politiburo meeting will have a trial in her absentia and expel her or decide otherwise. Zanu pf is just trying to hit Mujuru and daily news with one stone.

X-MAN IV - 1 January 2015

Everyone in Zanu idhodhi. The leadership kasimoro dhodhi for using everyone and the supporters ndomatuzvi chaiwo for allowing themselves to be used by the selfish bas-tards.

kasirika ndugu - 1 January 2015

MDC should have implemented the democratic reform which would have ended all this kind of tyranny.

Wilbert Mukori - 1 January 2015

4 March 1980 - Speech by Mugabe - “Greetings in the name of freedom. “May I thank you most heartily for your VOTES and support. “I feel overwhelmed and at the same time I feel humbled. I wish to address you tonight on the significance of the ELECTION VICTORY you have awarded my party, ZANU – Patriotic Front. “In doing so I would like to thank all those who, either by their direct VOTE, as our supporters, or by their efficient campaigning, as our organisers, have contributed to this favourable result.” - --------- Zanu was voted into power in 1980 - Zanu did not liberate anyone or any country. The fighting by Zanu and Zapu was a waste of time and precious lives because in the end Zanu and Zapu were FORCED to negotiate. All this has a bearing to the accurate history of this British-construct. Zanu and Mugabe have stayed in power because they have lied that it was them who “liberated the country”. That is the root of the country's problems - lies.

Musona - 1 January 2015

My dilemma in all this is one....how do women get to be used to pull down other women and prop up men to higher positions than themselves????men stop it!!!!!

Amaiwo - 1 January 2015

4 March 1980 was the first and last time Mugabe thanked people for voting Zanu into power. After that Mugabe changed to say it was Zanu which had liberated the country! I have heard and read such nonsense as “the critical mass in the liberation struggle” or such hollow statements by Zanu apparatchiks praising themselves over lies. The proper “critical mass” are the ordinary people who voted Zanu into power in 1980. Politicians dominate the news and most people are very docile and have a tendency to listen to these vociferous politicians who lie with impunity all the time.

Musona - 1 January 2015

Why are they not investigating The Zimbabwe Mail whose workers are not even paid, they work and receive salaries very late a short, last time I overherad them complaining at a certain function that they have received a half salary for April and that was in October. These are the people to investigate not Dailynews ownership, is Mujuru not allowed to buy shares?

maita - 2 January 2015

i dont see anything wrong with owning 10% of a company especially when its clearly stated in the article kuti she bought it

YO - 3 January 2015

Imi siyanai ne Daily News. Endayi kunana Damo Resources ku Borrowdale ndokwamungatonowana ma dhiri aMujuru nema Zhingaz atitambudza nekuti abuza. Sometimes I wonder how these people got work permits to come and do 'poorly' what many qualified Zimbos can do better. Maybe Immigration should also look into this, pane arikudya nazvo chete.

Hudofo - 7 January 2015

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