A Labour Court in Harare has orderedÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â the stateÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) to re-instate journalists it had fired for allegedly not helping Zanu-PF enough in the last election, writes our correspondent.
The journalists – news editor Patrice Makova, reporters Garikai Chaunza, Brian Paradza and Robert Tapfumaneyi, and producers Sibonginkosi Mlilo and Monica Gavhera – were axed from the ZBC after management accused them of "incompetenceÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and letting down President Robert Mugabe in an election he lost to Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on March 29.
The ZBC responded to the election result by firing the six, as well as the general manager for television, Robson Mhandu, who did not contest his dismissal.
In its ruling, the Labour Court ordered the ZBHÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â re-instate the employees with full benefits.
The journalistsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ lawyer, Rodgers Matsikidze, argued that the dismissal of his clients was "illegal and dubious" and therefore was null and void.
The ZBHÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s CEO, former freedom fighter Happison Muchechetere, said he would comment after "consultations with our legal team". He had dismissed the seven.
Muchechetere, a fierce loyalist of Mugabe, was appointed chief executive officer at the ZBH after the dismissal of veteran journalist Henry Muradzikwa who was accused of "aiding Tsvangirai and the MDC by giving them too much airtime on ZBC TV" in the run-up to March 29 elections.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), which financed the court challenge, welcomed the decision.
"This is good news to all of us because we have said it from the beginning that their suspension was an act of unfair labour practice by their employer.
"We will continue to fight for justice and equitable treatment of our members by their employers. A lot needs to be done to stop this culture of victimisation of journalists in Zimbabwe, especially in the state media," said ZUJ President Matthew Takaona.