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PUBLISHERS of the Daily News have sent senior assistant editor, Guthrie Munyuki, on forced leave after agitated junior staffers in the privately owned paper demanded his ouster for allegedly spying for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction within paper.
“Munyuki was forced to take a ‘precautionary leave’ up to the end of January to allow internal investigations into the allegations to be carried out,” said a source within the paper.
It has further emerged that Zanu PF youth chair Kudzai Chipanga could face the music from his party after the senior scribe allegedly exposed him as the culprit supplying the daily with classified politburo information.
The paper has been reporting profusely about Zanu PF internal affairs, something that has riled President Robert Mugabe and his lieutenants and also forced an internal witch hunt.
It is said that things came to a head during last week’s central committee meeting when Mnangagwa told Mugabe and his wife that he had finally discovered that the Makoni West MP was in fact the paper’s mole.
Challenged to prove his claims, it is further said, Mnangagwa told his colleagues that his Daily News source, Munyuki, had tipped him that Chipanga was the paper’s main source on Zanu PF affairs.
Daily News journalists say they became aware of the incident through sympathetic Zanu PF politicians who were privy to the central committee deliberations.
The senior journalist is further said to have exposed his work mates who have had direct links with Chipanga, something which brought unrest within the paper last week with his juniors demanding his ouster to restore calm in the newsroom.
“Journalists demanded that he be forced to leave the paper as his continued presence endangered their lives,” said the source.
“Others were actually asking how the editor expected them to continue sourcing for big stories which sell the paper if a senior editor continued to leak information about their sources.”
In a bid to restore calm and allow an internal investigation into the matter, it is further said, the paper’s editor Stanley Gama asked his colleague to stay at home up to 28 January next year.
Gama was not reachable Sunday when attempts to seek comment from him were made.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa is said to be leading a push to have Chipanga expelled from the party for betrayal.
Chipanga is linked to First Lady Grace’s Generation 40, who are currently involved in a bitter tussle with Mnangagwa’s faction over who would succeed President Mugabe.
Munyuki was fired from Ibbo Mandaza’s now defunct Mirror newspaper about 15 years ago. He was to briefly join the National Constitutional Assembly where he participated in demonstrations.
He tried to force his way back into the Mirror through a court appeal. On many occasions, Munyuki reported at the Mirror offices in Workington, Harare, but was ignored by the editors until he threw in the towel.
A source Sunday night said the company’s decision to force Munyuki to go on leave was made possible by “many other internal complaints” about the controversial journalist.
“It might be that Munyuki is not a spy but many are likely to believe that those who say he is are privy to some useful details,” said a senior journalist Sunday night.