There have been calls in Botswana for the deportation of the former
political editor of Zimbabwe’s state-owned Herald now lecturing at a
university in Gaborone, writes Gugu Ziyaphapha.

Caesar Zvayi left Zimbabwe earlier this month to work as a journalism lecturer at LimKokWing University in Gaborone, Botswana, but has since been slapped with a travel ban and asset freeze by the EU. Along with Munyaradzi Huni, the political editor of the Sunday Mail, Zvayi was one of 37 individuals to be added to the list of individuals linked to the Zanu-PF regime.

Four companies believed to financially support Zanu-PF have also been added to the list.

David Miliband, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, said: “The sanctions that we and others are proposing are designed to reinforce the drive for the transitional government to reflect the democratic will of the Zimbabwean people.”

Zanu PF owned Jongwe Printing and Publishing Company has also been slapped with sanctions. It prints and publishes the party’s People’s voice newspaper and the Zimbabwe News magazine.

In slapping a visa ban and assets freeze on the two journalists, the EU accuses them of propagating hate speech and war in their reports.
Now the Botswana Gazette reports that there have been calls for Zvayi to be deported.  Several Zimbabweans living in Botswana have written to the newspaper to make the call.

But Zvayi  said: “Being at UB does not mean I stop being a Zimbabwean; supporting Zanu-PF has no bearing on my qualifications as a journalist or competence as a media practitioner. The maliciousness and childishness of this campaign is testimony to the fickleness of the people behind it who apparently believe universities employ people on political grounds.”

The Head of Media Studies Department at the University, Professor David Kerr, said although Zvayi’s ideology and his support of Mugabe is an issue of concern, the University employs staff on academic merit, experience and a candidate’s political views are not considered.

Meanwhile, MISA Zimbabwe says the ongoing negotiations between Zanu PF and MDC should be preceded by an unequivocal and explicit guarantee of the right of freedom of expression, access to information and freedom of the media.

MISA says if the parties involved in the talks are sincere, they should allow Zimbabwean citizens to enjoy their fundamental right to freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom as guided by the country’s constitution and several international instruments.

Loughty Dube, MISA Zimbabwe’s chairman, says this environment can be achieved by stopping the arrests, harassment and torture of journalists. He says all local and foreign journalists and media organizations should be allowed to operate freely.

Dube says the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings should be immediately transformed into a “truly independent public broadcaster”, and he calls for the reduction of the influence of the Information Minister over the public media houses and that members to the boards of the state media organisations should be appointed by parliament and not the minister alone. He says the Minister’s influence had turned the state media into Zanu PF mouthpieces.

MISA wants these reforms to be accompanied by the freeing of the airwaves to allow commercial and community broadcasting, and calls for the suspension and subsequent removal of all  repressive press laws in particular, the Access to Information and Protections of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Public Order and Security Act (POSA), Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the Interception of Communications Act.

Meanwhile, Meanwhile, Kwekwe journalists Wycliff Nyarota and James Muonwa have been convicted of breaching the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) by publishing falsehoods.
They were convicted of falsely reporting in The Network Guardian that two people were having sex in a vehicle at a shopping mall.  They were each sentenced a fine of Z$20 billion or 20 days’ imprisonment.

Wilbert Mandinde, MISA-Zimbabwe's Legal Officer said the two journalists would appeal to the High Court.