Mpofu’s struggling newspaper heads for the cliff

SUDDENLY and curiously light in the pocket Transport minister Obert Mpofu is turning his struggling daily newspaper, The Zimbabwe Mail, into a weekly with immediate effect.

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Mpofu, long considered one of the country’s richest individuals although questions remain over the source of his wealth, appears to be in a spot of financial bother with a bank he owned collapsing recently.

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His daily newspaper has also been facing operational challenges with management confirming Thursday that it would be transformed into a weekly.

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Board chairperson Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga said the decision was in line with “consumer spending trends and aimed at give more value to their $1″.

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“With effect from today (Wednesday) the Zimbabwe Mail stopped publication of the daily newspaper,” Nzarayapenga said in a short statement.

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“The Board of Fruitlink Venture (Pvt) Ltd, the publishers of the Zimbabwe Mail, wish to advise its valued readers and advertisers that the newspaper is transforming into a weekly, effective 18th February 2015”.

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“The daily ceases to operate on Wednesday 11th 2015 February, and the weekly will hit the streets next week Wednesday”.

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The paper has also been hit by an exodus of reporters with six scribes said to have resigned due to non-payment of salaries.

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Reporters said to have left include Privilege Musvanhiri, Angela Jimu, Grace Chirimumhanzu, Jairosi Saunyama, Loice Nyathi, Francis Mukuzunga and Munyaradzi Gandiri.

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Last month Minister Mpofu handed back the licence for his Allied Bank to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, rendering about 250 workers jobless.

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Information Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo appeared to criticise Mpofu when he recently said that politicians should stop abusing young men and women in newsrooms to push their political agendas by establishing newspapers and then failing to pay them their salaries.

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“Let newspapers be owned by business people who are ethical, I get surprised by politicians who own newspaper and tell editors and reporters what to write, propping up their political lives,” said Moyo.

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“At the end you fail to pay these reporters and tell them to go and look for adverts so that they get paid. Who on earth doesn’t know that our economic environment is so bad and no companies are advertising at the moment?”

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The Zimbabwe Mail first hit the streets in December 2013.