Mandiwanzira faces ‘Supa’ conflict of interest over ZiFM radio licence

via Mandiwanzira faces ‘Supa’ conflict of interest over ZiFM radio licence — Nehanda Radio By Gift Kugara OCTOBER 2, 2013

Newly appointed Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Supa Mandiwanzira faces a serious conflict of interest in violation of the new Zimbabwe Constitution, legal experts have warned.

Mandiwanzira is the owner of ZiFM, one of the two companies that were awarded radio broadcasting licences last year. The other is Star FM, which is wholly-owned by Zimpapers, the state-owned newspaper publishing company.

At the time of awarding the licences, critics questioned the independence of the radio stations given that both were owned by persons that are closely connected to ZANU PF, the ruling party.

Mandiwanzira contested in the July 31 elections under a ZANU PF ticket and was subsequently appointed Deputy Minister for Information and Broadcasting Services, the very ministry that oversees broadcasting licence-holders like himself.

“It’s like Richard Branson being appointed Secretary for Transport in the UK”, said a legal analyst. Branson owns the global airline, Virgin Atlantic and UK train company Virgin Rail. “It would be unfair on competitors in the airline and rail business”, he said.

A legal analyst also pointed that the current situation where Mandiwanzira is both a government minister and a licence-holder and therefore key player in the media industry violates the new Constitution.

Section 106(2) makes provision to prevent ministers and deputy ministers from placing themselves in situations where conflicts of interest are likely to arise. The provisions states:

“Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers may not, during their tenure of office –

(b) … expose themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and private interests”

Analysts have pointed out that Mandiwanzira’s private interests as a licence-holder and private broadcaster present a conflict of interest with his public responsibilities as a deputy ministers.

“How can one person be referee and a player in the same game? Apart from violating the Constitution, it shows those who appointed them have no understanding or respect for the fundamental principles of corporate governance. Otherwise they would not have put him in that position. They could have asked him to give up the licence to take up the ministerial post.”

Mandiwanzira does not escape criticism from observers.

“For his own sake, and he seems to be a decent fellow who has built a reasonable media business, he ought to demonstrate more integrity. The ministerial post may be attractive but a man of integrity who wants to continue in his business should say thanks but no thanks because of the clear conflict that it presents for him.

“How will he look his fellow competitors in the eye? It’s like Strive Masiyiwa being appointed minister in charge of telecommunications – that would be absurd but a man of integrity and ethics like Strive would respectfully decline such an appointment”, said one observer.

Efforts to obtain a comment of Mandiwanzira or ZiFM were futile at the time of publication. The week he was appointed Deputy Minister by Mugabe, Mandiwanzira announced his resignation as Chief Executive of ZiFM but analysts said the move a token gesture as he was still the owner of the station.



  • comment-avatar
    Sajeni Chatungwa 11 years ago

    Mugabe is advisers went to sleep, how can they let Mugabe make such a blunder.If he wanted to give his brother in law something why didn’t give him any other ministry apart from that one.Chinotimba akamboreva paakati corruption iri muno muparliament.

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    maisokwazo 11 years ago

    Supa the Supa the demagog running a corrupt and insatiable hunger for an evil empire It derides all sanity what is happening in Zimbabwe.The good thing is no one is falling to the thieves chicanery and the rot is nauseating.

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    Elvis 11 years ago

    Hey hey hey…nyararai mese. What conflict of interest are you goons talking about? This is Zimbabwe…ok?

  • comment-avatar
    munzwa 11 years ago

    and some say the “young” turks will instill new ideas etc, looks like to me that they have all been painted with the same tar brush(corrupt)

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    shavamanhize 11 years ago

    are you saying we should be led by poor people, people without industry knowledge, people who come to amass wealth on the expense of the poor tax payer? Suppa has proven to be an experienced expert in that field and let him lead within his area of knowledge. Do you want him to be a Minister of Defence or Deputy Minister of Blaa Blaa where he has no knowledge how that industry is came to this universe? Damn you!!!

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      Chitova weGona 11 years ago

      Wat knowledge!Perm secs do all the wrk.Did he write any book on communications that we can use as reference?

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    zimbo 11 years ago

    Shavamanhinze – you have no idea what you are talking about!

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    Malcolm 11 years ago

    @ shavamanhize-
    Wow!!Mr Frost, Sakur, and Dimbleby step aside, I don’t think. It’s very easy to become an ‘expert’ given the sanction of a repressive regime, and afforded all the necessary mechanics to make the ventriloquist dummy move the mouth in an acceptable way.

    If any of you can recall. Mr Mandiwanzira came from nowhere in a new Zimabwe where any black face on ZBC was a godsend. Enter Supa. He ingratiated himself into the media scene with nothing more than an engaging smile in TV advert shorts. In the meantime the likes of Jestina Mukoko read the news.

    He made his way up the insular and favouritism greased Zimbabwe media pole. And if the truth be known ‘Supa’ is not his name – it’s just a stage one – all for the sake of showmanship.

    The difference in professionalism is measured NOT by the way it appeals to a certain mindset, but more with the impartiality you can ‘grill’ your interviewe. Supa is supplicant to those who pay his wage. He is a servant. He does not represent his wage paying public, only those who distribute the public wealth they claim authority to ‘own’ and do with what they want with it. And in case anyone points out Supa’s so called independant entreprenurship – lets have a look at the other set of books detailing funding income, first.

    It is true that in Zimabwe the ‘Old Guard’ reigns supreme. As long as Zim looks nostatlically to the past, they will be encumbered by the past, and will always be two steps behind in the catch up game.

    There are other more vibrant and professional media players on the horizon.

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    maisokwazo 11 years ago

    SUPA being supper Kiss my Ass