via Zimpapers CEO Mutasa ‘forced’ out. 01 October 2014
THE government early this week reportedly cracked the whip at state-owned media group, Zimbabwe Newspapers forcing chief executive officer Justin Mutasa to step down.
Mutasa leaves with two years remaining on his contract, meaning he can expect a pay-off from the company which is majority-owned by the government and listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).
The development continues a purge of the editorial and management ranks in the state media that has also targeted the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
“Wait a little. Just be patient and in a day or so there should be a clearer picture of what is happening. I would also like to comment then maybe tomorrow around 4pm,” said Mutasa.
“The Zimpapers board chairman, Dr Charles Utete announces the departure on early retirement of the company’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Justin Mutasa and the Group Financial Director, Mr Adolf Majome with effect from 30 September, 2014,” the company said.
“Mr Justin Mutasa offered to go on early retirement before the expiration of his contract. Mr Majome’s contract of employment expired early this year and he opted not to renew it.
“Mr Mutasa and Mr Majome had been with the company for 12 and 11 years respectively. The Board wishes them well in their future endeavours.”
Zimpapers plunged to a $1,417 million loss after tax in the half-year ended June 30 from a positive outturn of $358,000 the previous year as revenue tumbled due to high finance costs and a worsening economic environment.
Revenue declined by six percent to $21 million in the prior year while gross profit also declined to $16,2 million from $16,5 million.
The Zimpapers chief is reportedly related to Zanu PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa who is allegedly at loggerheads with information minister Jonathan Moyo.
The Zanu PF administration head is rooting in Vice President Joice Mujuru’s corner while Moyo is fighting in Justice Minister and Zanu PF legal chief Emmerson Mnangagwa’s corner.
Mujuru and Mnangagwa are alleged to be leading contenders to take over from Mugabe and the fight to control Zimpapers has taken centre stage.
Accusations of abusing the state media have now been levelled against Moyo and the Mnangagwa group as knives have been sharpened ahead of an elective congress set for December.