via I don’t care – ZBC boss – DailyNews Live by Lloyd Mbiba 13 DECEMBER 2013
Suspendend Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive officer, Happison Muchechetere, says he does not care about allegations that he was getting in excess of $40 000 salary and allowances per month at a time junior workers were not getting a single cent.
Muchechetere, who was sent on forced leave pending a forensic audit at the State broadcaster, refused to comment on the justification of his huge pay and insisted that he was unfazed by press reports about him.
Muchechetere has been widely criticised for a pay package seen as excessive during his tenure as chief executive of ZBC.
He said he could not talk about his own compensation amid an ongoing probe.
“Concerning ZBC, I have nothing to say at the moment,” Muchechetere told the Daily News yesterday.
“I will not say anything in the media.
“You guys from the media can continue writing stories about me as you have been doing and you can write all you want.
“I will speak out when the time comes.”
Asked when exactly he would be free to talk, Muchechetere hung up the phone.
Earlier, Muchechetere had told ZiFM Stereo he would await the outcome of the probe, commissioned by Jonathan Moyo, the minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, into the state of affairs at the State broadcaster.
He said he was not bothered by revelations that he was earning $40 000 at a time workers at ZBC had gone for six months without salaries.
“Ndichambonzwa kuti varikuti chii, hapana zviripo hapana zvekutaura (I will hear what they are saying, there is nothing, there is nothing to say),” Muchechetere said.
Asked if he saw himself returning to the State broadcaster, he retorted: “Haaa, hameno shaa, tinozviona kuti zvinonga zvafamba sei (My friend, I dont know, we will see how things go).”
Quizzed if he harboured any resentment towards people probing his affairs at ZBH, Muchechetere said told ZiFM: “Aiwa hatina basa nevanhu varikungotamburawo zvavo (I’m not bothered with poor souls).”
There has been public outcry and criticism over the ratio of the CEO’s pay to that of the average employee of the State broadcaster who had gone for half a year without pay, a ratio reflective of the growing economic inequality in most parastatals.
As broadcasting standards plummeted and advertising dwindled at the State broadcaster, the real income of most working people also declined and subsequently stopped, whereas the percentage of earnings going to CEOs and senior executives has been growing at staggering rates.
Supa Mandiwanzira, deputy minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, revealed at a news conference at Pockets Hills Studios earlier this week that ZBC management including Muchechetere were earning astronomical salaries at a time workers have not been paid for the past six months.
“It is quite shocking that for instance the CEO earns $27 000 plus, over and above that earns $3 000 in allowances for housing, $2 500 allowance, $3 000 for home entertainment, unlimited business entertainment allowance,” Mandiwanzira said.
“The corporation must pay off his mortgage facility, must built a durawall (security wall), must built an entertainment section at his premises.”
Mandiwanzira also revealed that the ZBC boss was entitled to unlimited fuel per week, substantial amounts for his domestic workers, unlimited air tickets to fly in the country with his immediate family among other outlandish perks.
If what Mandiwanzira revealed is anything to go about, then Muchechetere, who became substantive chief executive in May 2009, has drawn salaries and allowances approximated at $2,3 million to date.
He was sent on paid leave last month to pave way for a forensic audit to be undertaken at ZBC after minister Moyo dissolved the ZBC board led by Cuthbert Dube after it failed to submit a turnaround strategy document within the 14 days it had requested.
Dube told the Daily News: “We are not allowed to comment pending finalisation of the investigations.”
George Charamba, permanent secretary in the ministry of Media, Information, and Broadcasting Services, last week told a parliamentary portfolio committee that at least 500 workers at ZBC will have to be retrenched in a restructuring exercise meant to turnaround the public broadcaster that is saddled with a $44,3 million debt.
Government has resolved to take over the ZBC debt, according to Charamba.
The corporation is technically insolvent as it is realising only $275 000 per month in revenue against a budget of $2,3 million of which $1,6 million is going to workers’ salaries.
Additionally, the company is in arrears of $8,3 million owed to the workers for outstanding salaries, while it also has to meet other pressing statutory obligations.