By Staff Reporter
Mutare: President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a genuine and committed reformer who wants Zimbabweans to fully enjoy the freedoms they entrenched in the 2013 constitution, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
Mutsvangwa said this while officially opening the National Consultative Workshop to discuss the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, the Freedom of Information Bill and the Draft National Media and Film Industry Policy in the eastern border city Thursday.
She said the President has opened debate on previously taboo subjects which include the emotive Gukurahundi in which an estimated 20 000 civilians died in the hands of Zimbabwe’s military in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early 1980s.
“You can see this in practice,” Mutsvangwa said.
“He has opened debate on every subject and dispensed with any political taboos all the way to the Gukurahundi affair. He is dispensing with all elements of fear in national body politics.”
The workshop was convened by Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) and was attended by various stakeholders drawn from across the country`s media and film sector.
“I want to give an assurance from the outset. President Mnangagwa is a genuine and committed reformer. This came from the briefing he gave me as he assigned me to my new ministerial task.
“He wants Zimbabweans to fully enjoy the freedoms they entrenched in the 2013 Constitution of which he was one of the legal brains at the forefront,” said Mutsvangwa.
She said the task of reforming the country`s media and film industry is now much more easier as President Mnangagwa aspires to nurture a culture of democratic discourse and governance that removes any hindrance to the full realisation by Zimbabweans at work, at play and at worship.
“So as we deliberate here, feel unfettered. As stakeholders, equally consult the public with all the freedom and latitude. You will be happy to be assured that this is exactly what President Mnangagwa is expecting of these Bills,” she said.
Mutsvangwa also said there is need to depolarise the media, focusing it away from toxic and antagonistic politics to socio-economic issues that are critical for the development of communities, citizens` livelihood and national economy as whole.
“It has become incumbent upon us to focus the media fraternity on fully informing citizens, educating them and rallying them behind the Government`s vision of attaining the national status of an upper middle income economy by the year 2030.
“The President`s national rallying mantra ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ also calls for fundamental reforms in Media, Information and Communication domain.
“It called for a diverse and pluralistic media sector anchored on all the liberties conferred on citizens and media fraternity by the national constitution as enshrined in section 60, 61 and 62,” said Mutsvangwa.