via Zanu PF to blame for ZBC carnage – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 15, 2015
ZIMBABWE Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) this week announced the retrenchment of hundreds of its workers and the closure of a television as well as a radio channel.
The State broadcaster was taking a cue from private companies and government entities that have fired around 20 000 workers since the July 17 Supreme Court ruling that gave employers the leeway to terminate contracts on three months’ notice.
ZBC claimed the drastic measures were part of a restructuring exercise to restore normalcy at the corporation.
After years of enjoying an unfettered monopoly, ZBC now faces competition from privately-owned commercial radio stations that were licensed following recent reforms.
The job carnage claimed the scalps of several employees who had served the broadcaster for decades and the law would ensure that they go home with nothing more than the three months’ notices.
President Robert Mugabe has come out strongly against the labour law describing it as an ass.
He said the law was “not fair, it is not just and it is not acceptable”.
However, many were not convinced that Mugabe was being genuine given the fact that government-linked institutions have contributed the largest number of workers made redundant in the past few weeks.
The National Railways of Zimbabwe led the way by firing more than 500 workers at one go.
Other parastatals that made full use of the Supreme Court ruling include CMED, Zimbabwe National Roads Administration and Air Zimbabwe.
The common thread among these parastatals, including ZBC, was the long running abuse by government officials who saw these enterprises as private Zanu PF businesses.
As the job losses were unravelling at ZBC, the broadcaster spent thousands of dollars following First Lady Grace Mugabe to Binga where her rally at the Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme was broadcast live on Thursday.
Outside broadcasts cost much more than the normal programming and this entails travel by ZBC news and production crews.
Yesterday, the State broadcaster dedicated several hours to broadcast a function to promote the First Lady’s private business interests in Mazowe.
Again thousands of dollars went into that broadcast and that would come at a cost for the tax payer.
The powers-that-be at ZBC did not see anything wrong with splashing so much money on the First Lady’s private business at a time they are sacrificing thousands of workers who at one time went for several months without receiving their salaries.
Mugabe should be reminded that charity begins at home.
His spirited criticism of the job losses, whose genesis can be blamed squarely on his government’s twisted economic policies, remain hollow as long as there is no tangible demonstration of regret for the ruinous tendencies of his lieutenants.
The Zanu PF government should be held accountable for the unprecedented loss of jobs at State institutions, particularly at ZBC.
ZBC has for years acted as a Zanu PF mouthpiece instead of serving as a public broadcaster.
Professional journalists were turned into political party commissars, but have just been dumped to join the over 85% of Zimbabweans who cannot find jobs because of the parlous state of the economy.
Mugabe and his party should bear the shame for impoverishing skilled people who lost employment due to the destruction of State institutions by an uncaring government.