❖ Introduction
Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections coming on the backdrop of the ouster of former President Robert
Mugabe in November 2017, were held amid great expectations of a new era that would spur
the country’s socio-economic development in a concomitantly open and free democratic
These expectations were underpinned through pledges by President Emmerson
Mnangagwa’s newly elected government to undertake requisite economic and political
reforms to unlock international foreign direct investment as enunciated through his
Zimbabwe is ‘open for business’ mantra. Media policy and law reforms were among the key
reforms critical to steering the Zimbabwean ship in the right direction and retaining its pride
of place in the international community.
It is against these expectations that the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting
Services led by Monica Mutsvangwa, in November 2018, held consultative meetings with
key media stakeholders to get input into the form and shape the envisaged reforms would
Resultantly, the government conceded to the unbundling of the discredited Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) through the gazetting of the Freedom of
Information Bill and the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill. The Broadcasting Services Act,
was also lined up for similar reconstruction through the Broadcasting Services Amendment
However, as 2019 came to a close, more than a year after the July 2018 elections,
government’s sincerity in undertaking the envisaged democratic reforms became increasingly
While the government has since gazetted the Freedom of Information Bill and the Zimbabwe
Media Commission Bill, it is regrettable that the two Bills were generally viewed as a far cry
from meeting the country’s constitutional yardsticks as envisaged under Sections 61 and 62
of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression, media freedom and access to


Select target paragraph3