AN overzealous Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) female official on Thursday barred some Bulawayo journalists from covering Reserve Bank Governor’s John Mangudya’s tour of ailing city industries, accusing the scribes of scrounging for free food.
The unidentified official stubbornly told the stunned journalists that only Zimpapers and Financial Gazette reporters were welcome to accompany the central bank governor and his entourage during the tour.
“You cannot take part in this tour because we have not included you in our budget for lunch. After the tour, the governor and his team is going to have launch at a local hotel. We can only feed Zimpapers and Financial Gazette reporters,” said the official.
Journalists from the two newspaper stables were also provided with transport while the rest of the journalists from other media houses were told to disperse.
A journalist from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) who was also barred from the tour described the move as unfortunate and divisive.
“In future I will not cover ZNCC meetings again. Who said we want their food? I came here to do my assignment of covering the governor’s tour which is very important considering the sorry state of industries in the city. By cherry picking media houses, ZNCC is promoting polarisation and unnecessary divisions in the media,” said the journalist who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.
Before the tour, Mangudya had addressed a full house meeting at a local hotel which was attended by various stakeholders who included industry representatives, government officials and representatives from the Bulawayo city council.
Journalists from all the media houses were ironically allowed to attend the morning session but were screened during the tour.
The tour was meant to acquaint the governor with the extent of the collapse of the city’s industries.
The governor was also making his formal visit in the city since his appointment late last year.