FORMER Media and Information Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso (pictured right) and other Zanu PF sympathisers failed to be nominated as would-be commissioners of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) after they failed to impress during Mondayâ€™s public interviews in the capital.
Mahoso, academic Vimbai Chivaura and former diplomat Chris Mutsvangwa â€” all three Zanu PF loyalists â€” did not make it into the top 12 list to be forwarded to President Robert Mugabe, who would then select nine individuals to constitute the ZMC.
The failure by the Zanu PF publicists saw Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and MP Munyaradzi Mangwana complaining that the interviews were fraudulent and biased against candidates perceived to be their partyâ€™s sympathisers.
They also alleged that the panel of interviewers favoured candidates with links to the MDC-T.
However, parliamentâ€™s standing rules and orders committee (SROC) that was in charge of the interviews met on Tuesday and rejected Zanu PFâ€™s allegations.
It resolved to forward 18 names of the nominated people to Mugabe to appoint the commissioners of the ZMC and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
Mahoso scored the lowest marks out of the 27 people interviewed. Among those nominated to be members of ZMC are lawyer Chris Mhike, journalists Nqobile Nyathi, Mathew Takaona, Miriam Madziwa, Henry Muradzikwa, Godfrey Majonga and Wabata Munodawafa, academic Rino Zhuwarara, pastor Useni Sibanda, Roger Stringer, academic Clemence Mabaso and banker Millicent Mombeshora.
Nominated to join BAZ were Chivaura, publisher Benson Ntini, academic Vimbai Jirira, former ZBC executive Susan Makore, and journalists Kindness Paradza and Douglas Dhliwayo.
The Zimbabwe Independent witnessed how Mahoso performed during the interviews.
Mahosoâ€™s name was called out for the interview at 12.50pm and he strolled into the Senate Chambers carrying a bag, generating a lot of interest among journalists and the public who were seated in the press and public galleries.
He was the 17th short-listed candidate to be interviewed after some media professionals and academics spoke, while others struggled to articulate themselves.
Confidently he opened a bottle of mineral water that was placed on the desk and drank the water while staring at his interviewers.
Chief panellist Senator Obert Gutu informed Mahoso about the rules of the game before the interview commenced.
There were six structured questions to be asked in 15 minutes.
Gutu asked Mahoso about the significance of the national anthem to which the ex-MIC chairperson answered: â€œNo country has no national anthem. It summarises the values of the liberation struggleâ€¦and our aspirations.â€
Zanu PF legislator Mabel Chinomona who was also a panellist then asked Mahoso what he would contribute to the new commission if appointed.
â€œWe managed to put together the Media and Information Commission from scratch when we only had a desk, terms of reference and an Act,â€ Mahoso told the panellists before taking out two voluminous research books.
He claimed he authored the literature while with the Media Ethics Committee in 2001 adding that if appointed to the commission, he was going to use the experience he acquired in the United States.
MDC-T MP Tabitha Khumalo then asked: â€œWhat are the two key ethical issues in your profession and how have you lived up to them?â€
But to the surprise of everyone, Mahoso said he was â€œnot a journalist.â€ He however said media freedom should operate within the law and journalists must respect their audiences.
He was also asked what three best practices he would bring to the commission and again he made reference to his scholarly works and past experiences.
When asked by Chief Fortune Charumbira to give one strategy for the development and equitable use of indigenous languages in the media, Mahoso said government should encourage research in national languages.
â€œThe Ndebele I learnt, I learnt from my sister in law,â€ he said.
It was regrettable, Mahoso said, that he had not learnt other minority vernacular languages during his school days.
The interview suddenly took another twist when Mahoso attempted to switch roles. Gutu asked him how he would see the relationship between the ZMC and the civil society, but instead of answering the question Mahoso demanded to know if the senator understood what the term civil society meant.
Referring to his books, he claimed: â€œThis is the most thorough study on the civil society done in Zimbabwe.â€
He said the term civil society was â€œproblematicâ€ arguing that it does not include past activities done by people of Svosve and Nyamandlovu who triggered the chaotic land reform exercise of 2000. Traditional chiefs, Mahoso further argued, were also part of civil society.
The SROC is yet to conduct interviews for commissioners of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
BY BERNARD MPOFU