Ministry threatens to fire ZBC managers

Zimbabwe’s Information Ministry has threatened to fire senior managers at the country’s sole broadcaster – Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) – after they failed to screen the official opening of a mining investment conference by President Robert Mugabe during the main news bulletin on Wednesday.

Sources at the ZBC’s Pockets Hill studios told ZimOnline on Friday that Information Minister Webster Shamu, and his permanent secretary George Charamba on Thursday stormed the studios and read the riot act to about 10 managers charged with delivering the 8pm news after they allegedly botched the bulletin on Wednesday night.

The state-owned ZBC – also known as Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) – which runs Zimbabwe’s only television and radio stations failed to screen Mugabe’s keynote address due to technical hitches blamed on faulty equipment. The footage, which later appeared well after 9pm, had no sound.

Insiders said some of the managers taken to task by Shamu and Charamba included chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere, Tarzzen Mandizvidza, Freedom Moyo (bulletin manager), Jacob Phiri, Brian Rwafa (responsible for reporters) and five other senior managers responsible for editing.

“The problem is not with us but the equipment. Judith Makwanya brought the tape with the presidential story around 7pm but we could not slot it in immediately due to problems with the editing equipment. When we finally slotted it in after 9pm, there was no sound,” said another ZBC source.

“We were told that Mugabe is the President of this country and should be the top story whether we liked it or not. Charamba went on to say those who did not like it were free to leave ZBC,” the manager added.