Vice President Emmmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday acknowledged receiving complaints of police brutality against journalists and urged them to report rogue law enforcers.
He was speaking as the guest of honour at the 2016 National Journalistic and Media Awards (NJAMA) at a Harare hotel.
“Yes, there are such things as journalists’ cameras and other equipment being confiscated, with some beatings in other cases.
“I would like to make it very clear that it is not government policy for journalists to be harassed. So, when it happens, please go and report the offenders. It is criminal to victimise journalists who will be doing their work,” said Mnangagwa.
Media watchdogs have recently rapped the police for criminalising journalism by abducting, beating up and arresting journalists during citizen protests.
Mnangagwa hailed the media for reporting aggressively on corruption.
“On coverage relating to corruption, you are doing a wonderful job. That is one area in which I agree with you totally. No-one is sacred, so continue like that,” said Mnangagwa.
Of late, the vice president has been going out of his way to blast public sector corruption, which he admits is rampant.
The Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Jonathan Moyo, is currently in the eye of a storm for allegedly swindling more than $400,000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) which falls under his ministry.
The fund is meant to develop tertiary students’ skills but there are widespread concerns that, for a long time, intended beneficiaries are hardly benefiting from ZIMDEF projects.
Moyo, who the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) wants arrested, has admitted to illegally drawing the money from ZIMDEF but insists that he must not be prosecuted because the funds went to support Zanu PF events.
Goodson Nguni, the ZACC commissioner in charge of investigations, on Thursday told journalists that Moyo, his deputy Godfrey Gandawa and other high profile public officials stole the money for personal gain.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa pledged a beast to the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) after a local mbira music outfit that played at the awards ceremony, Mbira Dze Nharira, sang his praises.
“Where I come from, when a praise song is sung, we give a beast. So, ZUJ, you must come to my farm and get your beast (cow or bull),” said Mnangagwa.
He urged journalists to take advantage of government housing programmes to get accommodation.
That followed a statement by Foster Dongozi, the ZUJ secretary general , who said the majority of journalists were struggling to get decent accommodation