Soldiers Detain New Zimbabwe CEO, Is Publishing Online Now Unsafe?

Now these things are coming closer to home! Techzim is an online publication and stories of a fellow online publication staffer being detained by soldiers can cause goosebumps to appear. CEO Jeff Madzingo is based in the UK. He came to Zimbabwe last week to attend the funeral of celebrated artist, Oliver Mtukudzi. Jeff says when he got to the Madziva homestead where Mtukudzi was to be buried he was nabbed by soldiers.

The soldiers accused him of filming the soldiers with his mobile phone. Madzingo said:


They accused me of filming them with my mobile phone which I never did.

I was detained for more than two hours, being moved from one place to the other as they looked for senior commanders who were supposed to decide my fate.

I insisted that I had not filmed any soldiers. I even showed them what I had recorded but they still wouldn’t let me go.

I was eventually released after some colleagues gave the soldiers their IDs and guarantees which had been demanded. It was a very very terrible experience.

I made a sacrifice to come; flying in from the UK to celebrate the life of a legend, Zimbabwean icon and international icon, to pay my respects.

At the end of the day, I didn’t do much in terms of being present at the funeral.

I was literally in detention which was a very sad experience for me and I don’t see any justification for what I have had to go through.

At first, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government seemed to be tolerant to media which was a welcome departure from the Robert Mugabe era. Recently though, there has been a lot of paranoia especially regarding online media and social media particularly.

During some labour protests two weeks ago, the government went as far as blocking the whole country from accessing the internet. Although the action was ruled as illegal by the courts, the president has justified the move even though he insisted in the same breath that he supported media transparency.

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