Zimbabwe’s government has warned media outlets over their coverage of the Al Jazeera documentary series, which exposes alleged links between the country’s top government officials and a gold mafia. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman, George Charamba, issued a warning on Twitter, stating that there is a limit to the provocation the government can take. This raises the prospect of media arrests over the coverage of the documentary, which reportedly accuses the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe of being used to launder the proceeds of the gold mafia.
The documentary series has caused a stir in Zimbabwe, with a clip from the second part featuring ex-convict and gold dealer Ewan Macmillan claiming business links to President Mnangagwa. The government has since dismissed the documentary as fake news, and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has threatened legal action over the money laundering allegations.
Governor John Mangudya of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe stated that the bank reserves the right to take legal action against those involved in the making and promotion of the documentary, in order to protect its fiduciary responsibilities in the national interest.
The warning from the government has caused concern among media outlets in Zimbabwe, who fear that their coverage of the documentary could lead to arrests and other forms of government pressure. The situation highlights the challenges faced by journalists and media outlets in countries where freedom of the press is limited, and where governments are quick to use legal and other means to silence dissent.
The Al Jazeera documentary series, titled “The Gold Mafia,” explores the illegal gold trade in Zimbabwe and its alleged links to government officials and institutions. The second part of the series, scheduled to air on Thursday, features Macmillan making his claims of business links to President Mnangagwa.
Journalists in Zimbabwe have faced increasing pressure and threats from the government in recent years, with the country ranking 130th out of 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index. The warning from Charamba has raised concerns among media outlets and advocates for press freedom in Zimbabwe, who fear that the government may use the legal system to silence critical reporting on the documentary’s allegations.