Misa worried over IMPI future

via Misa worried over IMPI future – The Zimbabwean 16 July 2015

The departure of Jonathan Moyo from the information ministry could undermine the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) findings and recommendations, says the Misa-Zimbabwe director, Nhlanhla Ngwenya.

“For us, Moyo’s movement is a potential blow to IMPI. From its inception, he was the most keen and enthusiastic about the project and his departure from the information ministry could have negative implications on the findings and recommendations,” said Ngwenya.

President Robert Mugabe last week conducted a mini-cabinet reshuffle and moved Moyo to the higher education ministry in a move that surprised many people.

From the time Mugabe invited his former critic into his government, Moyo has held the information ministry on two different occasions.

Zanu (PF) insiders and other critics have accused him of using the official media to settle personal scores and Mugabe early last year called him the “devil incarnate” for waging a war against former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.

Observers maintain that IMPI was Moyo’s personal project meant to boost his political clout by appealing to the media.

As information minister, he presided over the choice of panellists who carried out research under the IMPI banner, but he went a step further to recruit journalists and other media personnel from the independent media.

Moyo riled his Zanu (PF) colleagues when he appointed as chairman of the panel Geoff Nyarota, a former editor at the independent Daily News, which Moyo engineered to be closed down in the early 2000s.

On some occasions, Zanu (PF) activists chased away IMPI researchers on outreach programmes.

“Remember that Moyo’s Zanu (PF) compatriots even queried his motives and source of resources when he set up IMPI. That means they didn’t consider the project beyond Moyo,” added Ngwenya.

“Now that he has moved, we are not sure if those who remain in the ministry and government have the same zeal, aptitude and energy to carry the project through,” he said.

Ngwenya maintains that, despite much criticism levelled against its inception and methods, the IMPI report came up with a variety of recommendations that Zimbabweans must take seriously as they were vital for the development of the media industry.

“Our hope is that the information ministry will take it up from where it was left and ensure that the recommendations are honoured. It is the content of the report that matters, not personalities.

“All those who have media freedom and viability at heart must ensure that they engage the ministry (of information) and its secretariat to ensure that what the report recommended is made a reality,” said Ngwenya.

The IMPI study, conducted nationwide between April and December 2014, was an official inquiry into the state of the information and media industry in Zimbabwe and explored the state of policy, legislation, welfare needs, professionalism and ethics in the industry.