Ncube, Moyo share media podium

Staff Writer.

BUSINESS journalist-turned media baron Trevor Ncube and Information minister Jonathan Moyo have been named among the 10 most influential media bosses in Africa.



ace=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>A top South African magazine, The Media, which compiles monthly independent industry intelligence, conducted the survey culminating in the list published in its March edition.


Editor Sean O’Toole and contributor Kevin Bloom, in consultation with Professor Tawana Khupe, a Zimbabwean based in South Africa, compiled the data.


The list is based on criteria including economic muscle, political authority and cultural clout.


Moyo and Ncube join other media tycoons such as Johnnic Communications chief executive Connie Molusi, Aga Khan’s Aga Khan Development Network with operations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; South African Broadcasting Corporation chief executive Peter Matlare, as well as Leaders & Company chairperson and editor-in-chief of This Day and African Markets, Nduka Obaigbena.


According to the list, Zimbabwe’s Information minister is the sixth most influential media boss on the African continent while Ncube stands at number nine.


The survey says Moyo’s sphere of influence is Zimbabwe where he controls the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and state-owned newspapers such as the Herald, the Sunday Mail, the Chronicle, the Manica Post and Kwayedza – all under the Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) stable.


Ncube on the other hand has a sphere of influence spanning Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.


Ncube is executive chairman of Zimind Publishers, publishers of the Zimbabwe Independent and Standard newspapers.


Ncube is chief executive of Newtrust Company Botswana, which publishes the Mail & Guardian in South Africa.


The survey says that in his 54 months as Zimbabwe’s Information minister, Moyo has often been described in the country’s private newspapers as “the most hated man in Zimbabwe”.


“By many accounts he’s the editor-in-chief of all state-owned newspapers and a vigilant workaholic, so it’s given that these letters (‘most hated man in Zimbabwe’) wouldn’t find their way into papers like the Sunday Mail or the Herald,” the survey said.


In the three years since its forma-tion as the propaganda wing of Zimbabwe’s “war cabinet”, the survey said Moyo’s department had redefined the relationship between the media and the state – passing draconian media laws, deporting dozens of journalists and using state media assets to bombard citizens with “Chave Chimurenga” campaign.


“Ironically, until 1999 Moyo was writing newspaper articles that condemned President Robert Mugabe in the harshest terms,” the survey said. “1999 was also the year he was appointed as a research fellow in the department of political studies at Johannesburg’s Wits University. At the time, South African academic colleagues described him as a “visionary political scientist and a brilliant scholar”. But soon Moyo would be Mugabe’s closest advisor; and Wits would sue him “for acting as spokesman for Zanu PF while he should have been working for the university”.


Former Zimbabwe Mirror editor Wallace Chuma wrote in one of several articles about Moyo: “He is the department and the department is him.”

Ncube, a business journalist, has managed to turn around the fortunes of the Mail & Guardian, a former loss-making publishing empire.


“It’s a record turnaround,” Ncube said. “It’s a sort of classical Harvard way of how to turn a business around, and we’ve done it in record time, in the worst case scenario.”


“Talk of the unexpected,” the survey said. “But then ever since Bulawayo-born Ncube acquired an 87,5% share in the liberal weekly’s publishing company, he has been shaking things up. Along with Mondli Makhaya, he chartered a brave new editorial direction for the floundering struggle title, one that saw the paper earn journalistic accolades despite the ‘annoying’ ads, bemoaned by the trenchant old guard.”


Ncube was appointed the new president of Print Media South Africa late last year, taking over the reins of a local association representing 530 newspaper and magazine publishers.


“Little wonder he is so ebullient in interviews,” the survey said.