Expose more graft, govt prods media

via Expose more graft, govt prods media – DailyNews Live  2 FEBRUARY 2014 

Government has commended the media for exposing corruption and obscene salaries in public institutions, urging the fourth estate to dig deeper to expose more rot.

Regis Chikowore, principal director in the ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, told a Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) annual general meeting held at a local hotel yesterday that the media has a role to play in policing public institutions.

“Let’s get to hear you not simply reporting the scandal itself, but to go beyond scratching the surface, digging deep to underline the causes that gave rise to the corruption levels being experienced at some of our public institutions,” Chikowore said.

“Let us explain the origins of the problem that we have, which in our view have to do with the introduction of the multi-currency regime that was adopted by the country in 2009.”

The media in recent weeks has been awash with stories exposing obscene salaries in public institutions.

The media revealed that former Premier Service Medical Aid Society chief executive Cuthbert Dube pocketed a whopping salary of close to half a million per month.

Also the media exposed that suspended ZBC boss, Happison Muchechetere was getting a $40 000 a month salary and a raft of other perks.

Chikowore blamed the obscene salaries on  failure to appreciate the real value of foreign currencies.

The inclusive government was also to blame, Chikowore said.

He said: “The transition phase from a hyperinflationary era where our own currency devalued to unprecedented high levels rendering our currency virtually valueless and the introduction of multi- currency basket was not addressed seriously.

“There was need for concerted efforts to educate the public on the values of the currencies that we were now dealing with in order to price our products rationally.

“This period also coincided with the advent of the inclusive government which made it almost impossible to police public institutions as appointments and oversight was being done on partisan political lines.

“Hence, to a certain extent, the situation that we now find ourselves in is a result of those economic, social and political factors.

“That is why in our view we are saying we would want to see our media playing their traditional role of educating, informing and entertaining society, and that is why the ministry would like to cultivate and nurture a productive working relationship with the editors and with the Zinef.”

Chikowore added that his ministry is working to align media laws with the new Constitution.