Mugabe’s official opening of the mining conference was slotted at the at 21:02 due to what insiders at ZBC said were technical hitches blamed on faulty Chinese imported broadcasting equipment.

The footage of President Mugabe at the mining conference had no sound, much to the chagrin of Shamu and Charamba who both stormed Pocket after 2pm on Thursday in which they summoned about 10 senior managers for allegedly botching up President Mugabe’s coverage of the officially opening of the mining conference which was attended by more than 300 delegates.

Insiders said some of the managers taken to task by Shamu and Charamba included Happison Muchechetere, the chief executive officer, Tarzzen Mandizvidza, Freedom Moyo (bulletin manager), Jacob Phiri, Brian Rwafa (responsible for reporters) and five other senior managers responsible for editing.

“We had problems with the VCT 4 editing equipment which were are using hence the bungling of the bulletin on Wednesday but both Shamu and Charamba accused us of incompetence and sabotage,” said one of the managers that attended the dressing-down meeting on Thursday.

“Shamu went to remove his jacket as if he wanted to fight us. They were shouting especially at Mandizvidza and Rwafa whom they specifically accused of incompetence,” said another source.

Another added: “Charamba said whether we like it or not President Mugabe was top news and should lead all the bulletins. He went on to say those that thought otherwise were free to leave the ZBC.”

The Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity has kept tight reign at the ZBC and other stables in the state media.

In a statement on Thursday the MDC said it was seriously worried by the manner the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity has abdicated its national responsibility to the taxpayer in pursuit of the shameful parochial interests of protecting one exclusive political party in the inclusive government.

It said the public media has been abused to become the theatre and arena of maligning and vilifying the MDC, its leadership and members at the expense of covering pertinent issues affecting the ordinary man and woman.

“The Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity is the spokes-ministry of the inclusive government in its entirety. The public media, under the express orders of ministry officials, have become willing vehicles of spreading hate speech, divisions and tension in the inclusive government through overt bias and positive coverage of ministers and officials from one political party,” it said.

The MDC condemned the partisan use of public institutions such as the public media to the detriment of national and public interest.

“For years, the MDC has been a perennial victim of unbridled propaganda. Ironically, the ridicule, abuse and vilification have intensified since the formation of the inclusive government in February 2009. The latest victim is Finance Minister Hon Tendai Biti who is on the receiving end of a vicious war by Zanu PF bigwigs used to free handouts who are now fighting tenaciously and extra-legally to have access to IMF funds that are outside the control of the usual Father Christmas-the Central Bank.

“It would not be illogical to conclude that the life of Hon Biti, just like other MDC officials and ministers, is in danger judging by the vitriol being spewed by The Herald and the ZBC. A month ago, Hon Biti received a live bullet in his mail and it appears there has not been any investigation on the matter.

“The past seven months have seen the sunset of political debauchery and corruption and the emergence of a new sunrise of hope for the people of Zimbabwe. That hope; the nation’s hope is under serious threat from the partisan use of strategic national institutions to undermine the new political dispensation. The Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity and its puppet media have lost all credibility in the eyes of Zimbabweans who want to nurture the new era of prosperity and hope.

The MDC regards the lampooning and hate speech against its Ministers and officials as a threat to the Global Political Agreement.  We are worried about the threat posed to the longevity of the GPA by a retinue of sulking remnants from the old order which is hell-bent on undermining the hope that had begun to be engendered by the inclusive government.” Radio VOP