By Anna Chibamu
MAGWEGWE MP Anele Ndebele has described as “idiots”, state media journalists he accuses of going all out to pin false bribery allegations against him and his colleague MPs.
The MDC legislator, also a former journalist, was speaking Wednesday during a probe into allegations he and other members of parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee tried to solicit for a $400 000 bribe from businessman James Goddard in order to facilitate a deal with Hwange Colliery.
The hearing is before Parliament Privileges Committee chaired by Chiefs Council President Fortune Charumbira.
During the hearing, Ndebele felt Herald journalists went overboard in attempts to associate him with the scandal.
The Bulawayo lawmaker denied meeting Goddard in their capacity as parliament’s committee members.
He told the probe team that he and other co-accused MPs, Leonard Chikomba, Temba Mliswa and Prince Sibanda were “self-acting” when they met the businessman 15 November last year.
“As l read the Herald articles, whenever they (copies) went out on the streets, they would say ‘four members of the Mines Committee’; but we were not representing the Mines Committee at the time.
“And then as you read the story, you do not need to be a lawyer chairman to tell that the story was written by an idiot…the title is going around the streets defaming us ‘four members of the Mines Committee’. That is attention grabbing.”
Ndebele added, “I would like for this committee as I stated in my affidavit to remind journalists particularly in State owned media to go back to the ethics of journalism and practice.
“We were all defamed and this has nothing to do with James Goddard. It has something to do with our rotten press in this country.”
Ndebele also fumed over failure by media houses to indicate authors of the stories.
“Whenever they write such stories, they do not put by-lines. They just say ‘By Staff Reporter’. But we were defamed honourable chairman. The press painted criminals out of all of us. Chairman, I leave you with all this. Are they real trained journalists!” he said.
In rubbishing the local press, Ndebele joins former President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace who used to attack the media for allegedly peddling falsehoods on the once powerful couple.
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has also previously attacked ZBC for continuously writing negative stories about him and his party.