Harare (New Ziana)-The Office of the President and Cabinet on Friday demanded that the privately owned Newsday newspaper make a prominent retraction of its story claiming that Tarirai David Mnangagwa was the son of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Office also demanded that the retraction be published in a newspaper and not on an online platform.
The Newsday on Thursday published a story in which it stated that Tarirai, who was being accused of seizing gold mining claims from his partner, was the son of President Mnangagwa.
Deputy chief secretary for presidential communications George Charamba, while urging the media to desist from publishing falsehoods, challenged the newspaper to provide evidence of its claim, failure of which it should retract the story as well issue an apology to day to President Mnangagwa.
“His Excellency would be most grateful if NewsDay can provide him and the nation with evidence of a filial relationship between him and Tarirai David Mnangagwa, in order to make good claims in their story.
“In the absence of such evidence, the Office of the President and Cabinet demands an immediate retraction of the published damaging falsehood, as well as an unconditional apology to the President, the First Lady and the First Family,” said Charamba.
On Friday Newsday apologised saying: “On Thursday, November 12, 2020, we published a story with a headline Mnangagwa’s son in gold mine grab. While Tarirai David Mnangagwa, the subject of the story is related to President Mnangagwa, him being the son of the President’s late brother David, the assertion that he is his biological son was wrong. We apologise without reservation for the error.”
Charamba, who is also the Presidential spokesperson, was however not amused by the evidently weak, grudging and half-hearted correction.
“They malign on paper which is preservable; they apologise on digital platforms which are evanescent… Hidden beneath an advertisement and juxtaposed for more innuendos? I did not see it,” he tweeted.
On Thursday Charamba urged the media to desist from publishing falsehoods as it is contrary to the standards and dictates of professional journalism.
He said the department had watched as President Mnangagwa and First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa had become the target of a sustained media attack.
He accused the Newsday and other online news outlets of conducting a sustained media campaign against the First Family.
“The Office of the President and Cabinet continues to view with consternation what clearly is a sustained media campaign by NewsDay and other syndicated online news outlets against His Excellency the President, Cde ED Mnangagwa, the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, and children of the First Family as involved or associated with alleged crimes and conflicts in the mining sector.
“The Office further urges the media to refrain from publishing such malicious claims which have now become more of a norm, quite contrary to the standards and dictates of professional journalism.”