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Why are Zimbabwean journalists so cruel to themselves?

Zimbabwean journalists are busy fighting for and protecting the rights of everyone else except their own.

This is clearly demonstrated by their dead silence over the purchase of the Financial Gazette, probably Zimbabwe’s most profitable newspaper.

The paper was quietly sold by owner, former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, to Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, the owners of the Daily News, towards the end of last year but up to now nothing has been said about the deal though it is likely to affect a number of journalists.

The transaction was so secret that Gono’s colleagues in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front are reported to have heard about it after the deal had already been sealed and tried in vain to persuade Gono to reverse the decision.

Gono, who is sometimes touted as a potential successor to President Robert Mugabe, was reported to have “sold out” by selling such a powerful medium to the “enemy”.

Papers owned by Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe are generally regarded by ZANU-PF as the “opposition press”.

Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe was set up in 1998 by journalists Geoff Nyarota and Wilf Mbanga who teamed up with a British company Africa Media Holdings but the company soon ran out of cash resulting in Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa buying a 50 percent stake through his investment arm Mediation Investments.

The paper was, however, closed down in 2003 after it failed to comply with the new regulations under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which compelled newspaper houses and journalists to be registered to operate.

The paper was revived in March 2011 but it was not clear whether Masiyiwa had pulled out or not. Jethro Goko was now running the show.

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