On Wednesday, we carried a story in which former ZESA chief executive Josh Chifamba splurged close to $600 000 on four top of the range vehicles in a period of five years between 2011 and 2016.
This detailed information is articulately stated in a forensic audit report carried out by reputable firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and gleaned by this publication.
This accurate report on the purchases raised the ire of board member and lawyer Jacqueline Sande who took it upon herself to unleash an attempt to muzzle the press.
Sande also submitted that this publication must have sought a comment from ZESA to clarify details that were clearly stated in an audit report that was approved by the board.
“I’m the chair of the committee which was seized with that forensic report and there is no such thing… you have to get ZESA’s comment before publishing that’s a rule of natural justice,” said Sande when she made contact with this publication.
She further demanded to know the source of the story.
This publication is guided by media ethics and strives to operate within world best practices and in that light, we are not at liberty to disclose our source to Sande or any other party.
We protect our sources and this has built our credibility in bringing reliable, factual and independent reporting and for any individual to think of muzzling us or expect us to give away our sources is wishful thinking .
It appears Sande wants to teach us how to write and package our stories.
She accuses us of publishing falsehoods in regard to Chifamba’s purchase of the vehicles in question.
However, we stand on solid ground and put it to Sande that if she really perused the audit report as she claims, then she missed the ‘clause’ that states Chifamba’s extravagant purchases.
“I have looked at all the charges levelled against everyone and that one is not there,” she said.
Our duty as the media is to play a watchdog role, reporting independently, stories that are buttressed with facts without compromise.
We will never play a public relations consultancy role to any company, be it ZESA or any other company.
Sande and the entire ZESA board should deliver their mandate and leave newswriting to journalists.
Sande is a free citizen in a democratic country and is entitled to her own opinions, but interfering with our editorial policy will not work!