HARARE – Freelance journalist Violet Gonda was briefly detained by Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) agents on Monday while filming at State House.
The freelance journalist had been covering a breakfast meeting between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and business executives.
Gonda, who was streaming online, had just attempted to get an interview with Sakunda boss Kuda Tagwirei and was interviewing Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya when she says some CIO operatives confronted her and asked for her accreditation.
“I didn’t have it on me and I had also left my ID with security. To get into State House grounds, we went through two security checkpoints and I was cleared at both,” Gonda said.
Zimbabweans watched with growing concern as a man in a dark suit ordered Gonda to follow her into a room, while demanding she switches off her phone which she was using to record interviews.
“He grabbed my phone, stopped the broadcast and switched off my phone. Now joined by others, they ordered me to sit down while three of them stood over me and interrogated me,” the journalist said.
“After being scolded by the CIO, they let me go. Up to now, I don’t know what this was about or why I was targeted.”
In September, it was revealed that Gonda had been denied a passport after her application was rejected because her name is on a secret “stop list”.
She took the matter to court, and the Registrar General’s office said it would not be contesting her application.