HomeAnalysisDear Vice-President Mnangagwa

Dear Vice-President Mnangagwa

MY name is Dumisani Muleya. I am currently the chief content officer of Alpha Media Holdings, which publishes the NewsDay, The Standard and the Zimbabwe Independent newspapers. I’m also the editor of the Independent.

Editor’s Memo,Dumisani Muleya

I have been working in the media for 20 years and written for many publications in Zimbabwe, in the region and internationally.

In the process, I established networks within the political and business communities, as well as the state and civil society circles; just like any other serious journalist would want to do.

That is critical if one is to operate on an informed, discerning and competent basis. Networks and sources bring information, insight and help us improve content delivery, competency and relevance. Journalism is by definition a science of verification, so contacts help in that regard. Without that it becomes difficult to be efficient and effective, which is what all professional journalists always strive to do.

Using those networks, I have been able to get information — documents, reports, data, statistics and figures — on critical events and issues, including on politburo and other important meetings since the 1990s, to report on matters of public interest.

This brings to me to why I’m writing to you. During the course of my work in the past two weeks, I managed to get from my networks around you the report you wrote and sent to President Robert Mugabe in reply to Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s video-documentary presented in the politburo on July 19 alleging you have captured state institutions and Zanu PF structures in a bid to push your leadership succession agenda to be the next leader of your party and president of the country.

Your 85-page report makes interesting reading. It covers so many issues and makes sensational allegations. It’s written in good prose (never mind the poor editing and incoherence in certain parts), with a gripping narrative. I’m not really going to comment on it; it’s not my job.

Hence, I’m going to confine myself to what is relevant in this case, your reference to me. Other journalists such as Hama Saburi, Mduduzi Mathuthu, Edmund Kudzayi, Xolisani Ncube, Everson Mushava and Fungai Kwaramba as well as the editor of the B-Metro (you got it wrong the guy you are actually referring to is not the editor of the newspaper; there are so many other inaccuracies in your report) whom you scandalise will reply for themselves.

I must say at this point you did not scandalise me; it was just an amusing anecdote. The irony is you were only too happy to use my report detailing internal Zanu PF dynamics around the Tsholotsho incident which I did in 2004 for the Independent and Mail & Guardian in South Africa to make a case against Moyo, but fired a potshot at me after that saying: “Curiously, the author of the above article Dumisani Muleya is now Jonathan Moyo’s staunch ally!”.

The underlying assumption is that I was Moyo’s enemy then, but now I’m his ally. That’s simply untrue, like many other things in your report, but I won’t comment further.

I have never been Moyo’s ally or enemy. What I have done, like any serious other journalist would do in this environment, is that I have kept my networks and lines of communication open to critical political actors, including Moyo and yourself.

When it comes to reporting, we do our job professionally and impartially. Our coverage speaks for itself. Ask your contacts in our newsroom (you have many of those); we always insist they must be above the political fray and report factually and fairly.

Our job is to report professionally on issues of public interest in a fair, accurate, factual and truthful as well as sensible and non-selective way. I can assure you at our group, the Independent in particular, we will always report without fear or favour despite numerous challenges we face in this volatile economic and politically polarised environment. Wish you all the best in your endeavours!

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