According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), the story which was published in the edition of 7-13 January 2011 headlined ‘Soldiers run amok’ alleged that one soldier, Nxolise Ncube, was arrested for beating a policemen during the incident. Ncube, according to the article, was sentenced to one year in prison. The soldiers claim that Ncubes’ case was an isolated bar brawl.
The Mirror’s editor, Golden Maunganidze told MISA, vendors and agencies were last Friday threatened by soldiers at the Mupandawana growth point in Gutu after approximately 500 newspapers were delivered for circulation. Maunganidze said the newspapers were immediately returned to the newspaper offices. He said that the occurrence was unfortunate as the story was based on facts as confirmed by the spokesperson for the army in the Province, Officer Kingston Chivave and Ncube’s sentencing.
Maunganidze said that army officials had since been in contact with the paper to apologise for the incident and that The Mirror was back in circulation. No incidences of violence had been reported yet.
MISA-Zimbabwe’s State of the media report of 2010 stated that half of the year 2010 saw an increase in the number of cases involving arrests, assault and harassment of journalists in the wake of calls by the two leading political players President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai that the nation should prepare for elections in 2011.
The upsurge in such cases appeared targeted at journalists working for the privately owned media involved the arrest and nine day detention of Standard journalists Nqobani Ndlovu on 17 November 2010 at Khami Remand Prison.