VP Nkomo, Minister Mudenge Clash Over Journalists

Addressing the same function at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) during the official launch of the three-day Research and Intellectual Expo (RIE) 2011, Minister Mudenge, scolded a reporter from the Zimbabwe Independent, who had written that he is “verbose”.

The report appeared in The Zimbabwe Independent under the popular Muckraker Column.

Minister Mudenge told invited guests that journalists are getting away with misinformation and yet they complain when politicians haggle after their “false reports”.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I read in one of our newspapers that Minister Mudenge has a tendency to be verbose,” he said in his speech.

“To the writer of the said article I have a small advice from my language, “Benzi bvunza” (a fool must ask if it does not know). By humbling yourself through asking for the correct information, in the end you will be regarded a wise man.”

The journalist had written that there were only 5 000 places for students at tertiary institutions this year. Mudenge disputed this pointing out that, in fact, there are 29 100 places vacant at the tertiary institutions.

However, a few minutes later, when Acting President, John Nkomo, took to the same podium, he said he would not argue with journalists because “they always win”.

“You cannot win against journalists,” Nkomo told the gathering in his speech. “I won’t comment like Minister Mudenge about journalists but what I can say is that you can never win against journalists.”

The invited guests, especially the journalists, then clapped their hands and allowed the Acting President to proceed with his three hour lecture which they then said was also “verbose too”.

The speech called the inaugural “lecture” went on for three solid hours and most guests fell asleep while Nkomo was reading through the document.