- A truck containing 60,000 issues of Zimbabwe's independent newspaper, 'Zimbabwean on Sunday' was hijacked and torched 67 kilometres away from Masvingo. The paper, which is printed in South Africa to avoid Zimbabwe's draconic press laws, is one of the few alternative news sources in the country.
The driver of the truck, Christmas Ramabulana, a South African, and a distribution assistant, Tapfumaneyi Kancheta, a Zimbabwean, were beaten and abandoned in the bush and they were later taken to the hospital after contacting the Harare office.
Newspaper editor, Wilf Mbanga told afrol News that Emmerson Mnangagwa, President Mugabe's supposed successor had recently said 'The Zimbabwean' was to blame for Zanu PF's electoral defeat.
"Mr Mnangagwa heads the Joint Operations Command responsible for the atrocities being committed in Zimbabwe since the aged dictator lost the March 29 elections to popular MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai," he said.
Mr Mbanga added that the newspaper was delivered safely despite the harassment and intimidation by the ruling party officials with the exception of last weekend's edition. He condemned the act saying he would not rest until the perpetrators of the act are brought to book.
'The Zimbabwean on Sunday' was launched in February this year as a sister paper to the popular weekly 'The Zimbabwean', which since last year has become the largest selling newspaper in Zimbabwe - selling 230,000 copies a week at its peak during the run-up to the landmark 2008 elections. They have gained their reputation as the country's leading papers for publishing most detailed reports about victims of political violence since March polls.
The attack today caused international protests. Reporters without Boarders (RSF) condemned the use of violence against the independent press, saying the attacks must not remain unpunished. An RSF statement released today stated that since the March polls, Zimbabwean authorities have been guilty on 12 counts of violations against journalists.
The Zimbabwean was established in February 2005 to stand against President Mugabe's media blackout. It exploits a loophole in Zimbabwe's draconian anti-press legislation by being published and printed in South Africa and trucked into the country. Headquarters are in the UK, with staff mostly being Zimbabwean journalists having fled the country.
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