HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba has issued a warning to Zimbabwean journalists who report on the findings of an investigation by Al Jazeera into corruption allegations against the country’s leaders.
In a statement posted on social media, Charamba threatened to take action against any journalists who repeat the claims made in the documentary.
“Al-Jazeera is not a court of law before whose claims impart privileges to defamatory utterances. It is merely some weaponised channel,” Charamba wrote on Twitter via Tinoedza Zvimwe handle.
“If you are reckless enough to repeat what its phoney documentary defamatorily says, hoping to plead: ‘I heard/saw it on Al Jazeera’, you will be sorry for yourself.”
Charamba warns media on Al Jazeera story reports
Charamba went on to warn journalists that there would be consequences for “reckless, defamatory and politically motivated journalism”.
He also urged them to be careful of “faceless Twitter names” who may encourage them to report on the allegations.
“Faceless Twitter names egging you on will not be a factor when brickbats come. Be warned!” he wrote.
The Al Jazeera investigation, titled “Gold Mafia: The Laundry Service”, alleges that Mnangagwa and his inner circle are involved in corruption, including illegal gold mining and money laundering.
Zimbabwean journalists who include Hopewell Chin’ono have faced harassment, arrest and imprisonment for their reporting on the country’s government in the past.
Critics have accused Mnangagwa’s administration of suppressing press freedom and violating human rights.
Meanwhile, episode two of the Al Jazeera investigation on Zimbabwe corruption is set to air on Thursday 30th March 2023 with the ZANU PF government already fretting at what is coming judge by their reaction.