Editors slam Makandiwa

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HARARE – Zimbabwean editors have come out guns blazing against self-proclaimed prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa who is seeking the closure of the Daily News.

The flamboyant head of the United Family International (UFI) has approached media regulator, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) seeking severe punishment for the country’s leading newspaper.

Makandiwa wants the paper punished for publishing billboards which erroneously read “Anglican saga sucks in Makandiwa” instead of “Anglican saga sucks in banks”.

Despite the fact that the Daily News apologised to the controversial preacher — fondly called “Papa” by his followers — his lawyers want the paper punished claiming the apology was half-hearted.

Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum (Zinef), an association of editors says the “man of God” is offside and should not seek the closure of a paper that is a source of news for a nation.

Brian Mangwende, the Zinef chairperson yesterday launched a stinging attack on the fabulously rich preacher.

“Makandiwa is a prophet of doom. We do not encourage people who purport to be men of God to advocate for the closure of papers. He should stop that and preach the word,” said Mangwende yesterday.

Makandiwa, who enjoys cult hero status from his ardent followers who flock to his church expecting miracles, is surrounded by a huge team of advisors and sidekicks who reportedly influence his every move in life.

Suspected Makandiwa sympathisers on Saturday burnt copies of the Daily News in Mutare.

The burning of the Daily News has also angered media freedom advocates who now feel that UFI members are now more rowdy than members of political parties in the country.

In a letter to the ZMC, laced with venom, Makandiwa’s lawyers are nudging the media regulatory body to use its powers under the nefarious and contested Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) to punish the paper.

Mangwende said Makandiwa’s behaviour warrants the intervention of all progressive media freedom campaigners.

“In fact who does he (Makandiwa) think he is? We take great exception to his advocacy for the closure of a publication. We are not going to allow that and we will take him head on,” said Mangwende.

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