via Heads roll in ZBC shake-up | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda November 15, 2013
There was an air of uncertainty at the ZBC’s Pockets Hill on Friday as the future of its chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere hung in the balance, after the government sent him on forced leave and sacked the entire board.
A statement released by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo on Thursday night said: ‘It was common cause that the ZBC has been facing critical leadership and managerial challenges that have not only compromised the national broadcaster’s capacity to effectively and meaningfully discharge its broadcasting mandate but which have also affected the welfare interests of its employees.’
SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that Dr Millicent Mombeshora, formerly known as Millicent Buzuzi, a former DJ and head of Radio 3, is heavily tipped to take over from Muchechetere. She is currently the head of strategic planning and special projects at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and is also a commissioner on the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
While Moyo may have been forced to take drastic action against the board and the CEO, because the corporation has failed to pay its workers for seven months now, the general rot at the ZBC left him with no option but to take action.
Under Muchechetere’s tenure the management, staffing, financial and editorial crises have escalated and the quality of programming on both radio and TV has failed to attract advertisers, the major source of income.
Viewers fled the ZBC in droves, tuning-in instead to DSTV, because of its kamikaze policy to as act as a propaganda tool for ZANU PF churning out biased and untruthful programs.
While the corporation stands accused of failing to pay its workers, management were paying themselves hefty packages, allowances and using top of the range vehicles.
Settlement Chikwinya, the MDC-T MP for Mbizo in KweKwe and former chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology, said changes at ZBC were long overdue.
The legislator said they’ve always complained about the state broadcaster’s political bias in its coverage of events in the country, adding that the ZBC had a duty to foster multiparty democracy and to equitably air all sides of an issue.
Branded as a serial offender when it comes to bias in favour of ZANU PF, Chikwinya said the ZBC is an important part of the country’s media and it is absolutely imperative that it should be publicly accountable and have editorial independence.
Unfortunately with a lack of political will to turn ZBC into a genuine public broadcaster, it’s unlikely any changes will stop it being anything other than a propaganda tool for ZANU PF.