Zimbabwe’s only newsprint manufacturer has threatened to cut supplies
to Zimbabwe’s government daily, The Chronicle, over an unpaid debt,
writes Gugu Ziyaphapha.

Mutare Board and Paper Mills (MBPM) says the debt of Zim$610 million (R100 thousand) is now affecting the company’s operations.

The Chronicle, published in Bulawayo by the government-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers) , is over two months in arrears, although they are contractually obliged to pay within seven days.

A letter written by a Mr Gwaunza to the local general manager of Zimpapers, Wenston Mudzengi, says: “Over the past two months, you have failed to keep to the agreed times to the extent that MBPM has been adversely affected. We need a plan which will allow us to correct this position, whilst in the mean time, we have no choice but to limit product deliveries in line with your payment patterns”

Zimpapers CEO Justin Mutasa recently lamented the failure by publications based in Bulawayo to generate enough revenue to sustain themselves.

In a move to try and improve their fortunes in Bulawayo, the publishing giant has increased the cover price of its newspapers and last month they introduced some major editorial and executive changes.

Meanwhile, Forster Dongozi, president of the Southern Africa Journalists Association and Zimbabwe Union of Journalist Secretary General has been elected to the executive committee of the International Federation of Journalists at its World Congress in Moscow, Russia.

Two other African journalists elected to the committee are Moroccan Mjahed Younous and Khady Cissay from Senegal who were elected as the two vice-presidents.

Dongozi says "We lobbied for the setting up of a distress fund for colleagues in Africa with a special emphasis on Zimbabwe and now what we need to do is to organise distressed journalists to see what form of assistance we can extend to them.”

IFJ was founded in 1926. It is a global confederation of journalists from 162 countries and representing more than one million journalists.