Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) -The Congress of African Journalists (CAJ) Sunday condemned attacks on two journalists by the Zimbabwean police.
The newly-formed journalists' body said Zimbabwean newsmen Leopold Munhende and Munashe Chokodza were attacked while coming from work last Wednesday evening in Harare, the capital.
The CAJ said in a statement issued here that the journalists were tortured, wounded and admitted.
“We sympathise with and send our solidarity message to the two colleagues and to all journalists working hard day and night in the frontline to report Covid19 and its impacts on the populations,” said Alexandre Niyungeko, president of the Interim Governing Council of the CAJ.
“We wish them swift recovery,” he added.
According to reports by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), “the two journalists, Leopold Munhende and Munashe Chokodza, were accosted by the security forces while coming from work”.
They informed the ZUJ office that when asked why they were out and about, they explained that they were journalists coming from work and proceeded to produce their accreditation cards.
The statement alleged that one of the soldiers then called out loudly that they were actually on the hunt for journalists during their operations under the current COVID-19 lockdown.
The CAJ said the security officers then went on to torture and humiliate the journalists for their own amusement.
The journalists sustained injuries as they were tackled to the ground and beaten with truncheons and whips.
The congress said they had received medical attention while efforts to make a police report were initially resisted.
“The abuse and harassment of Zimbabwean journalists by Zimbabwean security forces has reached epidemic levels,” said ZUJ Secretary-General, Foster Dongozi.
“We appeal to the government to ensure that journalists are safe and protected,” he added.
“These unwarranted acts of brutality, aggression and destabilisation of journalists doing their work must stop immediately,” Dongozi added.
The CAJ said it joined the ZUJ to call on the Zimbabwean government to ensure the safety of journalists.
It also demanded an end to impunity by Zimbabwean authorities and to punish police officers involved in wanton violence on journalists on duty.
CAJ, a journalists' rights and welfare body, was launched recently in Dakar, Senegal.
-0- PANA DJ/RA 28Jun2020