Battle for daily newspapers gets into top gear

HARARE, – THE battle for a licence to begin a daily newspaper in Zimbabwe is heating up as several players are said to be interested following the signing of a government of national unity between Zanu PF and the MDC. It is reported that the return of the dailynews is now imminent.

The Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) (Private) Limited intended to re-open The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday. Former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, under the controversial Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, shut the two papers.

The ANZ stable bosses were said to have been recently in South Africa to discuss their project with officials from the Tafataona Mahoso led Media and Information Commission (MIC), which is responsible for all newspaper registrations.

The Daily News was however likely to be led by another Chief Executive Officer as the former CEO, Sipepa Nkomo, was now a minister in government and former Editor, John Gambanga was working for the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe.

Business journalist, Barnabus Thondhlana was likely to take over but under tycoon, Jethro Goko who has a more than 60 percent stake in the group.

The Zimbabwe Mail has been approached by potential investors but the issue is still in early discussions 

Another stable was that of The Zimbabwean led by Wilf Mbanga. Mbanga already has The Zimbabwean and The Zimbabwean on Sunday. He is understood to have bought a printing press, which is in Polokwane in South Africa for the daily newspaper project.

Former Editor-in-Chief of The ANZ Geoff Nyarota was also believed to be eyeing a newspaper in Zimbabwe as his contract in the United States as a Fellow at Harvard University had apparently run out.

Nyarota has The Zimbabwe Times, which, sources say he might turn into a daily newspaper in Zimbabwe.

Nkomo removed Nyarota as Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News under tycoon Strive Masiyiwa before the paper was banned.

Media baron Trevor Ncube has already announced his intention to launch a daily newspaper.  Ncube owns The Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Gideon Gono, was also understood to be mooting the idea of a daily business newspaper. Insiders said he had already purchased a state of the art printing press for his newspaper. While Gono has been linked to The Financial Gazette (Private) Limited he has not openly admitted this.

Fingaz Acting Editor Hama Saburi refused to comment on the issue saying it was "news" to him.

Insiders said former Fingaz Editor-in-Chief firebrand Sunsley Chamunorwa could bounce back to edit the daily newspaper from the Financial Gazette stable.

Ibbo Mandaza was also said to be trying to revive The Daily Mirror Group, which was taken over by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in a boardroom coup but later collapsed due to financial constraints.