Moyo remembered as ‘ruthless’ Information Minister

via Moyo remembered as ‘ruthless’ Information Minister | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell September 12, 2013

Jonathan Moyo has been remembered as a ‘ruthless’ and ‘merciless’ Information Minister, in the wake of Robert Mugabe’s decision to reappoint him to the same Ministry.

There continues to be a shocked and worried reaction from members of the media fraternity to the news that Moyo will once again be heading up the ministry that governs media practice.

He was previously the Information Minister in the ZANU PF government from 2000 to 2005. And during that time, there was a severe crackdown on media freedom, with Moyo drafting and implementing repressive legislation that saw journalists being victimised and arrested and independent media houses being forced to close.

The crackdown saw Moyo being dubbed Zimbabwe’s media ‘hangman’ and there is concern about what his return to the position means to the current media space.

Veteran broadcaster and reporter Tapfuma Machakaire was one of the many journalists who were victimised by Moyo during his last stint as Information Minister.

He told SW Radio Africa this week that he hopes Moyo will be different this time around, because “his assignment now is different from what it was is 2000.”

“The media is likely to remind him of the ruthless approach he took and the effect he had on the whole media industry. So I don’t think we’ll see the same Jonathan Moyo now,” Machakaire said.

The journalist explained his experience as a target of Moyo’s media crackdown in 2001, describing the then Minister as ‘merciless’ and ‘ruthless’. Machakaire, who was a Chief Reporter and Producer with the ZBC at the time, found himself demoted and ultimately forced out of the state broadcaster as a result of a ‘feud’ with Moyo.

Moyo used his position as Information Minister to target Machakaire, who was reassigned as part of a restructuring exercise that Moyo undertook during his Ministerial term. Machakaire said that Moyo’s influence was responsible for the ‘crumbling’ of the ZBC.

“He showed me I was supposed to find my out (of the ZBC). I was reassigned but again I was harassed by my bosses. I was also told I had stolen a car and a camera, and it was all part of efforts to show me that I was no longer accepted there,” Machakaire said.

Moyo meanwhile has said that journalists have nothing to fear now that he is returning. Moyo told journalists gathered at State House on Wednesday, where the new Cabinet was being sworn in, that he is prepared to usher in a new dispensation.

“The one thing that I hope will be different is that you and us will work together very harmoniously… journalists have nothing to fear except fear itself,” said Moyo.

Moyo however made it clear that so-called ‘pirate’ radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe from the Diaspora, remain a thorn in his party’s side. He accused the stations, which include SW Radio Africa, of using “hostile propaganda,” and welcomed the regional SADC bloc’s call for the stations to be shut down.