Source: ED appoints Mass Media trustees | The Herald February 20, 2020
Fidelis Munyoro Chief Reporter
The Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust, dormant for almost 20 years, has been resuscitated with the appointment of six trustees by President Mnangagwa.
Veteran lawyer and former Trust chairman and Zimpapers chairman Mr Honour Piniel Mkushi will chair the trust again.
The other members are: current Zimpapers board chairman Mr Tommy Sithole, Ms Patience Gawe, former police spokesperson Ms Charity Charamba, historian and educationist Mr Pathisa Nyathi, and former Midlands State University Vice Chancellor Professor Ngwabi Bhebe.
Although it is laid down in the Deed of Trust that the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust is self-perpetuating, with surviving trustees choosing who will fill any vacancies, the President is empowered to appoint trustees when there are no trustees in office, which was the position when President Mnangagwa acted.
In a statement yesterday Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana said the appointment is with effect from February 10.
The appointment of the six was in accordance with the ZMMT founding Deed of 29 January 1981 and its amendments.
Later in an interview Mr Mangwana told The Herald that the Second Republic has put corporate governance issues at the heart of everything it is doing.
This, he said, was the reason why the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Mutsvangwa appointed boards to all institutions under the purview of the ministry including those that have not had boards for as long as five years.
“The Government has invested money in some companies such as Zimpapers. Those shares are owned through Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust who for all intents and purposes is the majority shareholder in Zimpapers.”
Mr Mangwana said for many years the Trust was dormant with no trustees in place.
“This was an anomalous situation that meant the Ministry of Information acted as the shareholder representing the interests of the majority shareholder,” he said.
Mr Mkushi is the senior partner of Sawyer and Mkushi, is a businessman, and chairs or has chaired the boards of 10 major Zimbabwean companies.
A veteran journalist, international and local sports administrator, and civil and military pilot, Mr Sithole previously served in Zimpapers as Editor of Chronicle and The Herald, Editor-in-Chief of Zimpapers and Business Development Director. He was president of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, worked with the International Olympic Committee. He has also served as Secretary-General of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa.
Ms Gawe is with the National Defence University.
Ms Charamba is the former national spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Republic Police and a retired senior assistant commissioner.
Mr Nyathi is a writer, author and publisher. He has served in many posts that further arts, culture and heritage and is well-known as a major driver of Ndebele writing in particular.
Prof Bhebe is a well-known historian and academic administrator, having lectured in history at several universities inside and outside Zimbabwe and in his administrative career reaching Pro-Vice Chancellor of UZ from 1992 to 1995 before being appointed as founder Vice Chancellor of Midlands State University which he developed rapidly into a major State university.
He has been elected into other leadership roles in academia regionally and internationally.
The ZMMT was established by Government in 1981 to bring Zimbabwean ownership to the largest media house, the Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) group and the national news agency, Ziana, by buying out the controlling South African shareholdings, but without imposing direct Government control. The funds for buying the shares were a gift from Nigeria.
The Deed of Trust lays down that after the first appointment of trustees, their successors would be appointed by those still in office with only the President allowed to appoint a new set of trustees if at any time there were none in office.