|Ass Com Nyazema|
...I will bring my certificates, I want you to give me a new job
MASVINGO – In what could be considered to be an act of overzealousness, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Officer Commanding Masvingo Province, Ass Com Taoneyi Nyezama yesterday (April 11) threatened and intimidated TellZim directors Passmore Kuzipa and Golden Maunganidze over a published story.
The senior police officer then kicked the two out of his office, and they approached Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe lawyer Derrick Charamba of Hwacha and Ndlovu.
Nyazema, however, later refused to speak to the duo and their lawyer, as he was angry for being named in a Muckraker column called Mapombi Adonha.
The column gave a critical and satirical overview of provincial law enforcement authorities’ policing of the national lockdown.
“Am I dull? Who wrote that column? I will bring my certificates to TellZim so that you can give me a job. Give me your full names and get out of my offices,” fumed Nyazema.
Kuzipa said the intimidation was so serious that they had to immediately engage a lawyer.
“We did not take the intimidation lightly. Nyazema occupies the highest police office in the province. He is, therefore, capable of doing anything. However, refusing to talk to our lawyer even scared us more, and we are living in fear because we do not know his next move.
“His insinuations that he wants us to give him a job were not sincere and we take such ominous threats to our security seriously,” said Kuzipa.
Maunganidze later spoke to national police spokesperson, Snr Ass Com Paul Nyathi who advised that TellZim should approach Commissioner General Godwin Matanga with the matter since Nyazema had refused to meet their lawyer.
“We strongly felt we were being threatened. We had to engage police spokesperson Ass Com Nyathi after the provincial police boss refused to talk to our lawyer.
“Journalism is not a crime. There are so many ways of seeking redress when one is not happy with a story. One can approach the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) or the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), but harassment and intimidation is unacceptable,” said Maunganidze.
Misa Zimbabwe has since issued a statement condemning Nyazema’s actions saying the media should be allowed to do its work without threats and intimidations.
“Misa Zimbabwe condemns the intimidation of journalists in the course of their professional duties. Aggrieved parties are urged to file their complaints with the instead of taking the law into their own hands. The Zimbabwe Media Commission is also available as a constitutional body if there are sections of the society that feel aggrieved.
“It is of high concern in this case that the police refused to meet with an officer of the court who was representing the two journalists. We can only hope that the journalists or their media house are not going to be harassed given the behaviour exhibited by the Masvingo Police Assistant Commissioner,” reads the statement.
Charamba also said he will notify the lawyers’ association about what he regarded as deplorable behaviour exhibited by the police boss.
“We are all officers of the law so I did not expect that from somebody of Nyazema’s social and professional standing. I wanted to engage him because my clients felt threatened by his statements but he refused. I am raising the issue with the lawyers’ association,” said Charamba.