Mandaza in court over board’s defiance of order

SUSPENDED Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group CEO and editor-in-chief Ibbo Mandaza returned to court yesterday to file a complaint after defiance of a High Court order by the company’s board.



al, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Mandaza went to court after a dramatic twist to the case on Wednesday in which High Court judge Bharat Patel lifted Mandaza’s controversial suspension, only for him to be served with a fresh suspension letter outside the court.


Mandaza’s attorney, Joseph Mandizha, said he went to court to raise the issue of defiance of a judicial order issued on Tuesday instructing the Mirror board not to interfere with his client.


“We went to the court after the respondents defied a court order which interdicted, prohibited and restrained them from holding or continuing any disciplinary proceedings or other actions with regard to Mandaza’s illegal suspension,” Mandizha said. “We needed the direction of the court and the matter has been set for Tuesday next week.”


Mandizha said although the court was clear, they had decided to seek a “correction or clarification order” to put the issue beyond any reasonable doubt.


Mirror group deputy chairman John Marangwanda said they had served Mandaza with a fresh suspension letter based on three counts of alleged fraud.


Mandaza had returned to court on Thursday last week to intensify his fight against suspension and to retain control of the Mirror newspapers taken over by the country’s state security agency.


This followed an initial court hearing on Monday last week on the case which has been in the courts since the Mirror boss was suspended in October.


Mandaza has been struggling since then to regain control of the Mirror group, publishers of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror, taken over by the Central Intelligence Organsiation (CIO) using public funds. He founded the company in 1997 before the CIO bought into it between 2002 and 2004.


The CIO also reportedly has interests in the business weekly, the Financial Gazette, and other media outlets including news websites, a production house, and has a powerful presence in state-owned media newsrooms.


There have been reports that the CIO was also behind the closure of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe titles – Daily News and Daily News on Sunday – as well as the Tribune and Weekly Times.


The CIO’s involvement in the media was widely seen as an attempt to further undermine the country’s small but vibrant private press for its forthright criticism of government. Arbitration on the matter failed to take place. – Staff Writer.