Dumisani Muleya/Augustine Mukaro
BARELY a week after Information minister Jonathan Moyo was fired, the search for his replacement is intensifying amid revelations Zimbabwe’s ambassador to China Chris M
utsvangwa could land the post.
The hunt for Moyo’s successor comes as a fresh wave of wholesale purges is looming at state-controlled media houses ahead of the general election on March 31.
Mutsvangwa has come out as the favourite to replace Moyo in a pack that includes Information permanent secretary George Charamba, Zanu PF deputy secretary for information Ephraim Masawi, Policy Implementation minister Webster Shamu and former Information minister Chen Chimutengwende.
President Robert Mugabe will appoint a new cabinet after the poll if his party wins. Mugabe told the Zanu PF congress in December last year that Mutsvangwa, a former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation director-general, was one of the young cadres who left university with the likes of new attorney-general Sobusa Gula Ndebele during the mid-1970s to join the liberation struggle in Mozambique.
Sources said the Zanu PF information and publicity department run by Nathan Shamuyarira was pushing for changes in the state media before the election. It wants all those recruited under Moyo’s patronage to be removed.
When Moyo came in in 2000 he made sweeping dismissals and changes, which brought in dozens of inexperienced journalists.
It is understood heads will roll at the government-owned Zimpapers and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH). Charamba is said to have already indicated to ZBH employees that restructuring was imminent.
Sources said knives were out for Moyo’s appointees at the media organisations, which had become his personal megaphones and exclusive Zanu PF propaganda mouthpieces.
The editors of the government-run Herald and Chronicle dailies, Pikirayi Deketeke and Stephen Ndlovu respectively, were said to be likely the first casualties of Moyo’s downfall.
Moyo’s hangers-on who were made “political or special projects editors” were almost certain to be booted out.
Sources said Ndlovu — seen as Moyo’s praise-singer — was likely to get a letter from the Zimpapers headquarters today or any time soon informing him that his services were no longer wanted. He was expected to be sent on forced leave pending dismissal.
“The Zimpapers board is likely to send a letter to Ndlovu maybe tomorrow
(today) relieving him of his duties,” a source said. “The board normally sits and takes a decision before instructing the chief executive, who is an ex-officio board member, to implement the move.”
Sources said Deketeke was likely to survive, at least for now, because he has sympathisers in the system campaigning for him to be spared the axe. However, the source added that there was mounting pressure from Zanu PF circles for him to go because he was seen as one of Moyo’s disciples.
The editors of the stable’s Sunday titles could escape dismissal.