BEITBRIDGE , First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s security personnel have barred villagers from taking photographs during a function in Beitbridge, much to the disappointment of those present. Only her press department and selected journalists from state media were allowed to take pictures at the event. The security guards were seen threatening both journalists and villagers alike, asking them to delete any photos they had taken. Maritha Mbedzi of Mtetengwe expressed her disappointment, saying she had wanted to share the historic moment with her husband, who works in South Africa.

The incident highlights a growing trend in Zimbabwe, where security personnel are increasingly restricting media freedoms. In July of last year, the First Lady’s photographer, John Manzongo, threatened to have journalists from the private media arrested after they had gone to cover an event where Auxillia was commissioning a clinic at the Marondera Female Open Prison.

Despite these restrictions, the First Lady’s philanthropic work in Beitbridge received praise from Beitbridge Chief Tshitauze, who thanked her for her commitment to helping groom the youth. He also commended her for her work in encouraging children to take education seriously, stating that these values are important lessons for their communities. Villagers were later treated to a sumptuous meal and each received a 50kg bag of maize.

While the event was successful, the actions of the First Lady’s security personnel demonstrate a worrying trend towards media censorship in Zimbabwe. As the country looks towards the future, it is essential that the government and its officials uphold the principles of press freedom and allow journalists and citizens to document important events.

By Power

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