By Simplicius Chirinda
Harare, October 8, 2013 – Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Jonathan Moyo, for long viewed as an enemy of the media, on Tuesday did the unthinkable.
He walked calmly into the offices of the privately-run newspaper, the Daily News, at Trust Towers, along Samora Machel in Harare. His brief was to engage the staffers and have a common understanding of how the media in Zimbabwe operates, sources told Radio VOP.
Moyo is believed to have played a significant role in the closure of the Daily News in 2004 and his visit on Tuesday came as a surprise to the journalists at the stable.
The visit, sources said, is part of Moyo’s re-engagement with the media on his comeback to the ministry that made him infamous around the world for his heavy handed tactics against the media.
In his first meeting at the Ministry Information, Media and Broadcasting Services offices on his return to cabinet held last month at his Munhumutapa building offices, Moyo extended an olive branch to the media.
His rare visit to the Daily News came after a similar visit to the Zimpapers media stable last week. Moyo was accompanied by his Deputy Supa Mandiwanzira on his visit to the Daily News.
Sources described the usually aggressive Moyo as “calm” as he conducted his visit extending personal pleasantries with individual journalists including interns and those that he has sued in court in the past.
Moyo had earlier on visited the Daily News printing press in the Graniteside industrial area in his bid to “appreciate” the Daily News and its operations.
Journalists have been apprehensive over the past few weeks after the Zanu PF politburo member and former legislator for Tsholotsho North constituency was re-appointed to head the crucial ministry. The apprehension stemmed from strong fears that during his tenure, Moyo had presided over the enactment of repressive media laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act while several journalists faced harassment, arrest and deportation from the country. Some newspapers and broadcasters among them, the Daily News and Radio VOP were bombed by some assailants who have not been apprehended up to now.