The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has been summoned to appear before Parliament next week to explain corporate governance failure at the national broadcaster after it turned out that one of its top executives, Tazzen Mandizvidza, allegedly owed the company over $1 million.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
ZBC chief executive officer Patrick Mavhura had appeared before the Prince Dubeko Sibanda-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, together with Information ministry permanent secretary Ndavaningi “Nick” Mangwana when the committee raised concern over corporate governance issues at the State broadcaster.
“My intention is to call ZBC and their board to appear before Parliament next week, because it is worrying that we hear reports of a manager who is said to have swindled the broadcaster of over $1 million,” Sibanda said.
“We hear that in 2014, he (Mandizvidza) was suspended, but he was rehired, and will he demand his pay for 2018? He has now been suspended again, and there are very serious issues of corporate governance and it is with a heavy heart that the committee says so as ZBC wants public funds yet it is a very dirty institution.”
Sibanda also expressed Parliament’s dismay over the reshuffling of staff at parastatals and media houses whenever a new minister or secretary of the Information ministry is appointed.
“Boards are hired and fired whenever there is a new minister or permanent secretary in order for ministers to get a feeding trough,” he said.
“We are not happy as a committee that some of your parastatals, like the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, do not have a board yet they want $35 million. When those board members are appointed, we (Parliament) would want to see their curriculum vitaes and criteria used to appoint them.”
Bulilima West MP Dingumuzi Phuti (Zanu PF) said ZBC had a myriad of problems and owed money to individuals and organisations, including artists who were struggling to get their royalty fees.
“They have many labour disputes and they are perfunctory to issues of property rights, which have resulted in them owing artists to the tune of more than $1 million,” Phuti said.
“This is tantamount to pulling the State into the mud because ZBC is the flagship of artists and they must work well with them.”
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) also demanded that the State broadcaster should do live transmission of Parliament and committee sittings.
Other issues that the committee wants to grill ZBC on include how much they made through live broadcasting, especially of political parties.