Zimbabwean authorities have taken a drastic step by imposing a sweeping ban on certain media organisations and individual journalists ahead of the country’s general elections on Wednesday.
According to media reports, some Zimbabwean journalists, including individuals from neighbouring South Africa like Chris Maroleng, the former chief operating officer of SABC, and journalists from Voice of America (VOA), have been prohibited from covering the upcoming elections.
The move has drawn strong condemnation from the Southern African Editors’ Forum (SAEF), highlighting the increasing disregard for transparency and openness in the electoral process.
“The banning of journalists is undemocratic and shows the expressiveness of the Zimbabwean government. SAEF’s position is that the Zimbabwean government must allow foreign journalists to cover the elections without hindrance,” SAEF said in a statement over the weekend.
SAEF said instead of hounding journalists, Zimbabwe must be eager to welcome them if they fulfil immigration and visa conditions where applicable and are accredited to cover the elections.
“These elections are important not only to Zimbabweans but also the SADC region and Africa as a whole. A democratic, transparent and thriving Zimbabwe will certainly help Africa fulfil its Agenda 2063,” SAEF said.