Arrested Zim reporter appears in court in a Mugabe jacket

2015-11-05 12:05
Robert Mugabe. (File, AFP)

Robert Mugabe. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - The irony was writ large in the looping signature of President Robert Mugabe.

One of three state media journalists who appeared at the Harare Magistrates' Court on Wednesday was wearing a jacket popular with admirers of the long-time Zimbabwe president.

Tinashe Farawo, who like his colleagues Mabasa Sasa and Brian Chitemba was handcuffed for his bail appearance, wore a black jacket with Mugabe's signature embroidered on the back and front.

All three men work for the official Sunday Mail, which is loyal to Mugabe, 91, and his government.

Their arrest on Monday over a story alleging police involvement in an elephant poisoning scandal sparked interest because journalists employed by state media are normally less at risk of arrest than reporters from Zimbabwe's private press.

In fact, six journalists from the official press were placed under Western sanctions during Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis because their overwhelmingly pro-state reporting was judged to be an "incitement to hatred", according to comments from top EU official Aldo dell'Ariccia in 2011.

'Let's march against the madness'

Reporters from the private press have come out in solidarity with their Sunday Mail colleagues, with Zenzele Ndebele of Radio Dialogue tweeting: "I think we need to march as journalists against the madness."

Trevor Ncube, publisher of the Zimbabwe Independent, Standard and Newsday papers, said in a tweet: "You [Zimpapers, publishers of the Sunday Mail] have 100% of our support in having your journalists released. This has been our life for the past 2 decades."

Garments bearing Mugabe's signature first appeared ahead of elections in 2013. Much sleeker than party T-shirts or wraparound skirts bearing the president's face, they appeal to hip urban professionals keen to proclaim their support for their leader.

Around sixty elephants have been poisoned with cyanide in Hwange National Park in recent weeks in a crime that bears the hallmarks of an organised poaching syndicate. The Sunday Mail said an assistant police commissioner was being investigated in connection with the poisonings, but police insist that is not true.

The Sunday Mail's sister paper the Herald said in a front-page editorial comment on Wednesday that the arrest of the journalists was "an over-reaction that implies... that the police have something to hide."

The reporters were granted $100 bail.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  media  |  southern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.