Daily News barred from taking Grace pictures

HARARE – Daily News photojournalist Darius Mutamba was barred from taking pictures of First Lady Grace Mugabe’s welcome function when she arrived at Harare International Airport yesterday from the Far East where she was recuperating from a minor operation.

This is yet another example of the dozens of times that the popular daily has been prevented by State officials from carrying out its lawful work since the newspaper came back from an eight-year forced closure by President Robert Mugabe’s government in September 2003.

Recently, the newspaper was stopped from carrying out its lawful business when its crew was barred from attending a State function at KG VI Barracks in Harare where the late liberation war icon, Josiah Magama Tongogara, was being honoured.

Yesterday’s incident came hardly a week after the same Daily News photojournalist, together with others from the private media, was forced by aggressive security personnel to delete pictures of the mortifying fall of President Robert Mugabe when he arrived from attending the African Union summit a fortnight ago.

Security details made it clear yesterday that they were not in the mood to allow the Daily News to cover Grace’s arrival, amid claims over the past few days that the First Lady was not happy with Mugabe’s aides for not being vigilant enough when the nonagenarian fell.

“I don’t know how they identified me because they never asked me to produce my press card. They just told me to leave the moment they saw me.

“What surprised me is that I saw other journalists being allowed in and wondered why I had been particularly barred. But the security details did not want to negotiate,” Mutamba said.

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