Reshuffle At State-Owned Broadcasting Station

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings has reshuffled its news production team with its loyalists being given managerial positions while suspected Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) sympathizers and experienced long serving journalists were sidelined.\r\n

The state controlled broadcaster, headed by war veteran and anti-opposition Happison Muchechetere last week announced the promotion of news managers, bulletin managers and executive producers, as well as news editor and an assistant news editor.

ZBC Editor-In-Chief  and chief  propagandist, Tazzen Mandizvidza  was promoted to the position of General manager of news and current affairs. War veteran Allan Chiweshe who was formerly the General Manager for Radio, is now  General Manager for Programming responsible for both Radio and Television, while a senior army official identified as Brigadier Kasu is now the General Manager for Finance and Adminstration.

According to sources Mandizvidza later promoted O’Brian Rwafa to the position of Manager News and Reporters. Rwafa is currently under police investigation on allegations of making a false report after recently reporting that he was kidnapped in Kuwadzana suburb by MDC supporters, yet he was allegedly involved in a love triangle with a married woman.

Masvingo Bureau Chief Lillian Muungani was appointed News editor and the little known policeman who is on a three months probation Albert Chekai was appointed Assistant news editor.

A source within the newly promoted team said Mandizvidza recently bragged during an editorial meeting that he had no respect for the government of national unity and vowed to clean the newsroom of all those not loyal to Zanu PF.

Johannes Nyamayedenga who joined the state broadcaster more than 10 years ago and has rounded all the country’s provinces as a bureau chief was recently re-called from Mashonaland Province for allegedly being embedded with former governor Ray Kaukonde, was not given any position. Several other experienced journalists such as Reuben Barwe, Terrence Mapurisana, Rugare Dobbie, Ishmael Ndlovu, Walter Mupfanochiya, Tendai Munengwa and Janet Munyaka were also sidelined.

It has also been reported on good authority that another propagandist and Diplomatic correspondent Judith Makwanya was offered  the  position of News Editor and  rejected it because she still wants to  travel with the President on international trips where she gets several thousands of dollars in travel and subsistence allowances every year.

Sources also said Makwanya who is Lillian Muungani’s mentor has urged her to also reject the news editor post saying it is a hot political position. The position was held for several years by Patrice Makova who was fired last year by Muchechetere on allegations of contributing to Zanu PF’s loss during last year’s March 29 harmonized elections which were won by the MDC. Several other journalists were also fired on allegations of being sympathetic to the MDC.

Mandizvidza also promoted Clifford Mfiri to the position of Manager Current Affairs, with Moses Charedzera who was deputy editor in chief being demoted to manager online, a non-existent department.

Other appointments in the same news department are those of Matabeleland North Bureau Chief, Freedom Moyo  who has been re-called  to be the news bulletin Manager, television news presenter Shamiso Mataire is now in-charge of all weekend news bulletins, while Sheila Rusere former lunch time  ews Executive  producer is now the head of News hour and lunch time bulletins.

Jonathan Marerwa was also promoted to Chief Executive producer for Radio news, while trade unionist and suspended ZUJ Vice President, Jacob Phiri was promoted to Chief Executive producer for Television.

Efforts to get an official comment from the broadcaster were fruitless as the Public Relations Manager Sivhukile Simango’s cell phone was not reachable while his office land line went unanswered several times.

Radio VOP also said it had information that most  of the Net One phone lines which were given to ZBC managers have since  been blocked, a possible reason for our failure to get in touch with Simango.