Standard Zimbabwe Newspaper
Standard Zimbabwe Newspaper,Tapiwa Zivira is a prominent Zimbabwean human rights journalist who has worked for The Zimbabwe Standard newspaper as an intern reporter during the time when the Robert Mugabe government was at the height of cracking down on the independent press. It was while he was at The Standard that Zivira was distinctively fearless in the face of media suppression by the Robert Mugabe government.
Zivira’s work as a student journalist reached a climax in March 2007 when he defied the existing political tension when he wrote an account describing the death of Gift Tandare, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai activist who was shot by police while demonstrating in the high-density suburb of Highfield, Harare. On the day Tandare was shot, Morgan Tsvangirai and his top party officials were arrested and beaten up by police while they were on their way to the scheduled prayer meeting in Highfield. During the same week Zivira was savagely beaten up by police while covering a demonstration by a vocal civic organisation critical to the then, ZANU PF-appointed commission running the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, The Combined Harare Residents’ Association.
Zivira later joined The General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe as an information officer and there he continued to use his journalistic background to advocate for the rights of farm workers. Again, he was on the hot seat of the crucial information desk of an organisation that had to represent its farm worker membership as the controversial land reform programme continued to leave more farm workers displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance. As Information Officer Zivira was given the dangerous task of exposing the state-sponsored human rights abuses targeting farm workers. This did not endear him with some top officials in government. In June 2008, at the height of the bloody political violence ahead of a presidential election run-off pitting Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, Zivira had to go into hiding for more than two weeks to avoid attack by some ZANU PF youth militia who accused him of fingering them in the displacement of Zimbabwean farm workers. In December 2008, Zivira was arrested together with the leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions after taking part in a demonstration against Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono’s quasi fiscal policies that saw the Zimbabwe dollar losing its value and affecting the working class’s wages.
In 2009 Zivira was part of the team that produced the report on the abuse of farm workers during the land reform programme. The report If something is wrong and the documentary House of Justice received international attention on the atrocities committed by the government of Robert Mugabe on the farm workers. Zivira and his boss Gertrude Hambira were forced to flee in February 2010 after the dreaded intelligence officials besieged GAPWUZ Harare offices. This was seen[by whom?] as an attempt to silence the exposure of allegations of human rights abuses on farm workers during the land reform programme. Zivira continues to work for GAPWUZ and writes human rights stories for The Zimbabwean newspaper.His stories continue to have an in-depth appeal to the lives of Zimbabwe’s forgotten: the farm workers.View Epaper