Zanu PF supporters assault journalists in Bulawayo, force them to delete footage of skirmishes

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By Staff Reporter 

THREE freelance journalists were on Monday assaulted by Zanu PF supporters while covering skirmishes along 5th Avenue, Bulawayo. 

The ruling party supporters pounced on journalists Annastacia Ndlovu, Pamenus Tuso and Lungile Ndlovu who were interviewing vendors who had been assaulted for “being disloyal to Zanu PF”.

Some of the vendors lost their wares during the clashes with Zanu PF supporters. 

Annastacia suffered a swollen face after she was assaulted by the mob clad in the ruling party’s regalia while Ndlovu and Tuso were also assaulted during the incident.  

A case of assault has already been reported at the Bulawayo Central Police Station.  

The supporters also broke Ndlovu‘s mobile phone screen before ordering the scribes to delete their footage. 

“We were interviewing some of the victims of violence when the Zanu PF supporters suddenly surrounded us and demanded why we were taking photos and talking to the victims. Suddenly, they started accusing me of attending a CCC rally in Gweru and one of the guys started clapping me all over my face. His female colleague also joined in and started assaulting and insulting me. The assailants even ignored repeated pleas from the vendors to stop beating me,” said Annastancia. 

Tuso said he was forced to run for dear life and hide his camera. 

“One of the supporters clapped me on my cheek. The menacing thugs threatened to smash my camera and I had seek refuge in one of the nearby buildings where I hide my equipment. This barbaric attack is very unfortunate because it is coming at a time when media organizations held meetings with several senior leaders of political parties concerning the safety of journalists during the period presiding the elections.  This is an attack on press freedom,” said Tuso, who is also a Board Member of Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).  

One of the vendors Khulumani Tshuma said he was also severely assaulted by the marauding ruling party supporters. 

“The supporters came in large numbers and started looting my colleagues’ goods. They accused me of taking photos of the looting. They also accused me of failing to attend Zanu PF campaigns meetings,” Tshuma. 

Despite repeated denials by the party‘s leaders, Zanu PF supporters have been accused of embarking on an orgy of violence against journalists and opponents.