Mugabe To Meet Zimbabwe And International Journalists

The meeting with the Zimbabwean leader would mark the end of the biennial Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) congress set for
Harare’s Rainbow Towers Hotel this Saturday and Sunday.

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary general Foster Dongozi said Thursday President Mugabe was invited to grace the occasion.

“President Mugabe will have an unofficial interaction with journalists at a dinner to be hosted by the Ministry of Information and Publicity
on Sunday,” said Dongozi. “This may provide a platform for African journalists to ask him about some of the issues that they have been reading on Zimbabwe.”

Fifty local and foreign delegates are expected to attend the high profile event, being the second edition of the FAJ congress.

Mugabe’s prospective appearance at the function will re-emphasise the Zimbabwean leader’s willingness to renew his sour relations with the media, which he has routinely accused of fighting wars with his government.

Earlier this month, Mugabe met editors from public and private media where he also took time to answer questions based on some of the most critical issues about his controversial rule.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to officially open the event on Saturday while his deputy Professor Arthur Mutambara will officially close it the following day.

Delegates have been drawn from the African continent’s sub regional groups of Southern Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, West Africa
and North Africa.

According to Dongozi, the President of the International Federation of Journalists, IFJ, Jim Boumelha and the General Secretary, Aidan White have confirmed their participation at the congress as have some sister trade unions from other parts of the world.

Some of the key figures to grace the event will include Madam Habiba Mejri- Cheikh from the African Union, AU,Madam Pansy Tlakula, the African Commission’s Special Rapporteur  for Freedom of Expression and representatives from UNESCO.

FAJ’s observer status within the African Union is being finalised at the continental body’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Representatives from the diplomatic and donor communities, together with Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression and media advocacy partners will be in attendance.

The inaugural FAJ congress was held in Nairobi, Kenya, 2008 and was officially opened by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The body was formed after extensive consultations among African journalists on the need to form a Pan African continental federation
for trade unions and associations for journalists.

Under the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) family, other regions have continental federations for their unions and associations.