via New Zimbabwe editor Mathuthu to “officially” work for state media | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda on Monday, October 14, 2013
The pending appointment of the NewZimbabwe website’s editor, Mduduzi Mathuthu, as the new editor of the state run Chronicle newspaper, has stirred much debate among Zimbabweans who follow the news, as his UK based news site has for a long time been suspected of being a ZANU PF sponsored project. He is to replace Itai Musengeyi.
According to reports, Mathuthu’s new position is due to be officially announced this week by the newly re-appointed Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, who is said to be making many changes in the ZANU PF run media empire that includes The Herald newspaper and ZBC radio and television outlets.
This appointment at the Chronicle follows years of speculation that the NewZimbabwe website Mathuthu ran from the UK represented ZANU PF views and at times defended the abuses by the party and Robert Mugabe.
Having run NewZimbabwe from the UK Mathuthu moved back to Zim ahead of the July 31st elections earlier this year. He had frequently appeared in photographs with top level ZANU PF officials on his trips to Zimbabwe.
This development was received as no surprise by SW Radio Africa’s Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme, who said he knew Mathuthu in the early 2000s when he worked as a reporter at The Daily News in Bulawayo.
Saungweme said Mathuthu disappeared in late 2002 or early 2003 then resurfaced as editor of NewZimbabwe.com, which he said is widely viewed as a ZANU PF website that has always de-campaigned the MDC-T and Morgan Tsvangirai.
“Well at first it looked like an independent website but after 2005 it became very clear that it was linked to ZANU PF. So if you look at their reportage it clearly concentrates mostly on attacking the person and politics of Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC-T”, Saungweme explained.
He added: “The website is viewed mostly as a pro-Mnangagwa website and there is speculation that it may have something to do with a post-Mugabe scenario and the politics within ZANU PF.”
Our correspondent said Jonathan Moyo is also trying to “re-engage” with all the journalists that were fired after he himself was booted out as Information Minister by Robert Mugabe, following the so-called Tsholotsho incident that caused a purge within ZANU PF.
Other changes Moyo is expected to announce include the appointment of Tumeliso Makhurane, assistant editor at The Herald, as editor of the Sunday News. This follows the death of Paul Mambo earlier this year. Makhurane had also served as deputy editor at the Chronicle.
Saungweme said not much is expected to change in terms of improving the media environment in Zimbabwe, given that Jonathan Moyo crafted some of the harshest and repressive media laws in the country.