Wednesday, 4 November 2015

What are you afraid of, police bosses?

Around 2000, I penned a story highlighting how cadets from the Gweru-based Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) were escaping from the military cantonment area under the cover of darkness to buy foodstuffs in Gweru central business district, before finding their way back.

The trainee army officers are not allowed to  go out of the facility at night, and should make do with the 'little' food they are given.

A lone robber had perfected the art of attacking the young soldiers and disappearing with foodstuffs, earning the name 'cadet raider.' However the cadets would not be fooled all the time and were planning to entrap and 'punish' the robber severely.

After the story appeared in Willie Mponda's The Sun after the late Richard Musazulwa had cleared it for publication, a top army official called the paper and asked to speak to the journalist who had penned the 'cadet raider' story.

President Mugabe at ZMA in Gweru
He politely asked for the cadets escape route, so that he could stop the mischievous elements from making more nocturnal visits into the city, where at times they could end up  harassing innocent civilians. The reputation of the ZMA had to be kept clean, considering it is President  Robert Mugabe alone, the Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe National Army, who has 'to cap' the cadets after a rigorous 18-months training at the only officers' academy in the country

I complied and assisted the army official, after which he expressed his gratefulness.

ZMA trainee cadets doing their thing
What if he had turned up into our newsroom and bossed us around, threatening to have me arrested unless I reveal my sources? 

He knew better than doing that.

Journalists are there to compliment law enforcement agent not vice-versa.

With the ZMA motto declaring 'Timorem Scientia Vincet' (Knowledge Conquers Fears) the army boss knew better than to rough up journalists.

Not what these 'big bossman' police officers are trying to achieve by arresting Sunday Mail journalists who were actually doing their national duty, upholding the right of the public to know.

What are you afraid of? Your military cousins at ZMA will advise you that knowledge conquers fear.

You seem to have skeletons in your cupboards.