Blessed Mhlanga

Blessed Mhlanga is an award-winning Zimbabwean journalist. He works for Alpha Media Holdings as a reporter for its publications, NewsDay and The Standard. He is also HStv head of news and current affairs.

Background

Wife

Blessed Mhlanga is married to Florence.[1]

Verbal Assault

On 24 May 2018, Blessed Mhlanga was verbally assaulted by the then deputy minister of Finance and Member of Parliament (MP), Terence Mukupe. The verbal assault took place during a live broadcast of Focus, a current affairs programme aired on SFM now Classic 263.

Mhlanga and Mukupe were in the studio to discuss a story published in the NewsDay on the 23rd of May 2018. In that story, the newspaper quoted Mukupe as having said that members of the military would not recognise Nelson Chamisa as President if he were to win the 2018 general elections. This story was based on a video recording of Terrence Mukupe speaking at a Zanu PF cell meeting held in Mandara, Harare.

The heated discussion resulted in Mukupe allegedly verbally assaulting Blessed Mhlanga and at the same time standing up in an attempt to assault him physically. At that point, Mrs Mhlanga who had accompanied her husband to the studio began to record the unfolding events on her mobile phone. This allegedly further angered Mukupe who ordered his two aides to seize Mrs Mhlanga’s cell phone; it was during this tussle that Mrs Mhlanga was physically assaulted and her jacket torn.

Mhlanga proceeded to report the matter at Highlands Police Station and a docket numbered RRB 35337572 was opened. Mukupe also filed a police report of assault against Mhlanga and his wife.[2]

Mhlanga’s lawyer, Chris Mhike received summons from the police on behalf of his client, with the State demanding the appearance of Mhlanga in court on May 13 2019, almost a year after the alleged assault.[3]

Mhlanga threatened to sue the government and Mukupe over the loss of an S7 Edge and the humiliation he and his wife suffered. He dismissed Mukupe’s apology saying the attempt by Mukupe was “… far from being an apology.”

He ridiculed Mukupe’s apology which he said was an insult to him, his wife, family and the people of Zimbabwe.[1]

Arrests

2020

In July 2020, Mhlanga was arrested alongside Ruvimbo Nyikadzino of Sly Media at a police roadblock and charged with miscellaneous misdemeanour. He was taken to Mabvuku Police Station in Harare where he was detained briefly before being released. After his release, Blessed Mhlanga said he was on his way to cover a press briefing by Monica Mutsvangwa and Nick Mangwana.

He was only released after the intervention of the Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.[4]

2021

On 26 November 2021, Mhlanga said he was arrested and detained for taking pictures at Zindoga, of police offices. In a tweet, Blessed Mhlanga said he was detained without charge. He added that a policeman struck his mouth with a fist and his teeth curved in. Mhlanga was charged with disorderly conduct and was detained for two hours. He was released after lawyer Chris Tinei Mhike intervened.

Mhlanga said he had to visit the hospital for treatment.[5]

Awards

In 2019, Blessed Mhlanga won a Zimbabwe Election Reporting Award. The Zimbabwe Election Reporting Awards were held on 7 March 2019 by The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) He won the prize under the ‘Best 2018 Election Reporter’ for his article which went out of the ordinary to subject claims around the election voters’ roll to investigation.[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Journalist to Sue Government and Minister Mukupe Over Stolen Phone, AllAfrica, Published: May 28, 2017, Retrieved: November 30, 2021
  2. Minister assaults NewsDay journalist, MISA Zimbabwe, Published: May 26, 2018, Retrieved: November 30, 2021
  3. Journalist dragged to court for ‘assaulting’ ex-minister, NewsDay, Published: May 13, 2019, Retrieved: November 30, 2021
  4. Senior Reporter Blessed Mhlanga Arrested, Africa Press, Published: July 25, 2020, Retrieved: November 30, 2021
  5. UPDATE: Journalist Blessed Mhlanga Released, Facing “Assaulting A Police Officer” Charges, Pindula News, Published: November 29, 2021, Retrieved: Novemebr 30, 2021
  6. Awards on election reporting handed out in Zimbabwe, mediasupport.org, Published: March 12, 2019, Retrieved: November 30, 2021