By Mutsa Makuvaza
ONLINE media journalist and opposition MDC Alliance activist Simba Chikanza has defended his intrusion into a mourning and sorrowful Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, saying he is the most wanted person in Muchinguri-Kashiri’s military database.
This comes after many analysts including veteran journalist Geoff Nyarota have criticized Chikanza for unethical conduct when he ambushed a grieving Muchinguri-Kashiri into speaking ill against Zanu-PF’s all-weather friend China.
The Defence Minister, who was grieving the death from COVID-19 of her friend, Manicaland Minister Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba over the weekend, said COVID-19 was a Chinese experiment that went wrong and was now decimating the wrong people.
Chikanza faked grief to extract the most from an unsuspecting Muchinguri-Kashiri.
“I appear in many top govt and ZANU PF meetings with my name badge on some which I even film LIVE, and I am number one most surveiled person,” Chikanza said.
Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said what Chikanza did was not journalism and must never be condoned.
“The Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri interview is not journalism. I don’t know what it is. In public interest journalism including investigative journalism, a journalist can use various ways including not divulging their identity, but doing this to someone grieving is stretching the license too far,” said Mukundu.
He added that he was “shocked by level of intrusion in personal grief” by Chikanza.
“It diminishes trust in media. Media can be adversarial to power, but a level of mutual respect must be maintained. Advocacy journalism can be done but still based on principle. Journalism must always occupy the higher moral ground.Rashweat Mukundu
“This is not a discussion about bad leadership, but bad journalism. Journalists are answerable to their audiences and have an obligation to work professionally, to gain/maintain trust. Leaders may kill, torture to get information, but journalists don’t have to do that. It’s not tit for tat.”
But Chikanza remained adamant that he was justified to extract information by whatever means from his political foes.
“How can you suggest I hid my identity when I used the same phone number I have used before 14 days before and even while chasing her in Brussels?
“I have PHYSICALLY attended top ZANU PF and govt meetings with my name badge for years running, I am the most wanted in her database.”Simba Chikanza
Journalist Thandazani Nkomo said the media watchdog was conspicuous by its silence over the matter.
“I was looking for such a statement (by Mukundu). I am still waiting for a statement from Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe condemning such. That is just wrong from every angle.”
Another veteran journalist Alexander Rusero used strong words to describe the action by Chikanza.
“There is no tactic like that, what is being celebrated is brazen idiocy and foolishness combined. It has no room in professional journalism of which Simba has never and will never be one!”Alexander Rusero
Chofamba Sithole, another eminent writer and critic, added his voice: “Even in court, not all information is permissible. Of course, some of you can afford to be narrow minded, someone’s gotta figure out and take care of how things add up and how they affect the human condition. That’s why real journalism is ethical.” – Zimbabwe Voice 🔺