By Staff Reporter
A GROUP of suspected MDC Alliance youths was arrested weekend on claims of assaulting freelance journalist Tamuka Charakupa in Chitungwiza weekend.
According to a Monday statement by top media rights lobby, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe, Charakupa was assaulted while covering violent clashes between MDC and Zanu PF followers in the dormitory town.
Reports say the MDC Alliance youths were part of a convoy of vehicles that roamed Chitungwiza South for most of the afternoon Sunday canvassing for votes for the party’s candidate, Advocate Maxwell Mavhunga.
“Four MDC-Alliance youths accosted Charakupa as he took pictures of the clashes with his mobile phone. One of the youths snatched his phone,” said MISA-Zimbabwe.
“Charakupa’s spectacles were also broken in the process after he received a blow to his ear.
“He reported the incident to the police and managed to identify two of his assailants following Mavhunga’s assistance, resulting in their arrest.”
The suspects are in custody and were expected to appear in court this Tuesday on charges of assault and theft.
It is not the first time in a space of four months claims of journalist victimisation have followed the main opposition.
In March this year, Herald’s senior reporter Zvamaida Murwira and a freelance journalist Anna Chibamu were harassed by the MDC-T vanguard at the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House during a press conference.
Tawanda Mudimu, a photographer with State controlled daily, was in May also reportedly manhandled by party supporters while covering demonstrations at the party’s headquarters.
ZBC claimed Monday that one of its cameras was damaged by rain on Sunday when MDC Alliance supporters attending a rally at Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo grabbed an umbrella that was shielding it.
It took the intervention of party’s presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa to get the umbrella back.
“MISA Zimbabwe urges supporters of political parties to desist from perpetrating violence and assaulting journalists conducting their constitutionally protected duties of gathering and disseminating information,” said the media lobby group.