LAWYERS representing freelance journalists barred from covering a Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) Summit in Victoria Falls despite a High Court ruling the Media and Information Commission (MIC) null and void are seeking confirmation of the provisional order as permanent after Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu opposed the ruling out of time.
Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai & Hwacha legal practitioners told the Zimbabwe Independent that Justice Bharat Patelâ€™s ruling still stands according to the law after Shamu and his secretary George Charamba failed to submit a notice of opposition within the stipulated 10 days of the ruling.
Hwacha said Shamu and Charamba were supposed to apply for condonation from the High Court and give reasons why they did not file for opposition within the specified time.
The lawyer argued that since Shamu and Charamba challenged the application out of time and did not apply for condonation, Patelâ€™s ruling was still valid.
He said: â€œPresently the application for interim relief is still not opposed because High Court rules on these matters are very clear. The respondents (Shamu and Charamba) did not file notice of opposition within the required time. They filed their notice of opposition five days later and didnâ€™t apply for condonation. We are moving for confirmation of the provisional order as permanent.â€
The journalists â€” Stanley Gama, Valentine Maponga, Jealousy Mawarire and Stanley Kwenda â€” successfully challenged the legality of the MIC following the enactment of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment (Aippa) No 20 of 2007.
The amendment, according to the journalists, rendered the MIC a legal nullity and replaced it with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).
Justice Patel ordered Shamu and Charamba to retract in writing and by broadcast statements issued by their ministry relating to the accreditation of the journalists according to the MIC before they could cover the Comesa summit.
In his notice of opposition filed with the High Court on June 24, Shamu claimed that owing to the Aippa Amendment Act, MICâ€™s name was changed to the ZMC and that â€œotherwise (there was) no change in the status of the commission as a legal entityâ€ with full corporate powers.
Meanwhile, 89 applicants have shown interest in becoming commissioners of the ZMC. Among those who lodged their applications with parliament are MIC CEO Tafataona Mahoso, academics Claude Mararike and Vimbai Chivaura, and pastor Gift Mabaudi.
lThere has been a major editorial shake-up at the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers), the publishers of The Herald, The Chronicle, The Sunday Mail, The Sunday News and other publications.
Sources in the Zimpapers stable told the Independent yesterday that editors of the newspapers were reshuffled and that the new appointments were with immediate effect.
According to the sources, The Sunday Mail editor William Chikoto has been moved to The Herald in a similar capacity, while Chronicle editor Brezhnev Malaba has been moved from Bulawayo to replace Chikoto at the Sunday Mail. Malaba will be deputised by Nomsa Nkala.
Innocent Gore, who was the editor of the Southern Times in Namibia, has been called back home to edit The Chronicle. Gore was replaced by Makuwerere Bwititi, who was the editor of The Manica Post.
The Herald assistant editor (business), Hatred Zenenga, will take over from Bwititi.
Former Sunday News news editor Herbert Zharare is now news editor of The Herald. Paul Mambo remains as editor of The Sunday News.
Itai Musengeyi was appointed Herald assistant editor while Ceasar Zvayi is the night editor. Other changes include that of Sarah Tikiwa who has been appointed editor of Zimbabwe Travel.
BY CHRIS MURONZI