A glossy free newsletter, published by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s office last Wednesday and meant to counter negative
publicity from the state owned media, has apparently unnerved officials
within ZANU PF, reports Lance Guma for SW Radio Africa.

The state owned Sunday Mail newspaper quoted Ministry of Information permanent secretary George Charamba saying; ‘We have seen the publication, which purports to be from the Prime Minister’s Office, noted its circulation figures and we are looking at what the law says.’ The statement seemed to suggest the publication of the newsletter was illegal and that Tsvangirai should have consulted his cabinet colleagues first before going to print.

Tsvangirai’s office produced the four-page newsletter saying it will update people on the ‘progress and problems’ in government. The first run of the newsletter was made up of 40 000 copies and plans are afoot to distribute it as a supplement in the few newspapers already operating. ‘This is in line with the new governance culture of transparency and accountability, which is one of the key commitments of the global political agreement,’ the newsletter read. Tsvangirai’s office said the newsletter would also allow people to air their views and opinions about the inclusive government.

But in what is becoming a clear pattern of behaviour, the Ministry of Information and Publicity under Webster Shamu continues to undermine Tsvangirai and the unity government. Last month when Tsvangirai announced that the Media and Information Commission (MIC) was defunct and journalists did not need to register, he was promptly contradicted by Shamu who warned of arrest for those without accreditation.

A group of journalists wanting to cover the recent COMESA summit were barred on the instructions of Shamu’s ministry. This was despite them having a High Court order confirming they did not need to accredit with the MIC.

Click here to read the full report, posted on SW Radio Africa's websie.