There are claims that the sudden dismissal of Financial Gazette
editor-in-chief Sunsleey Chamunorwa is due to pressure from the ruling
Zanu PF and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), writes Torby

Last week, Chamunorwa was barred from entering the Financial Gazette offices fter he was told he had been relieved of his duties as the paper's editor. He had served the business weekly for four years.

He confirmed his axing: "No hard feelings. I don't have any comment for now."

The paper''s general manager Jacob Chisese addressed journalists at the paper at the time to confirm the departure of Chamunorwa.

He said he had appointed an acting editor whom he refused to name. It is believed to be the deputy editor of the state-run Herald, Hatred Zenenga.

Chisese confirmed there had been changes at the Financial Gazette but refused to give details. "We will announce the changes in due course," he said.

The Financial Gazette was taken over by the intelligence services in a covert operation that ushered in Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono as the new owner, according to the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper.

Sources at the Financial Gazette said Chamunorwa is a victim of power struggles in the fractious ruling Zanu PF. Chamunorwa was accused of supporting one faction, while the paper's editorial policy tended to lean towards the opposition MDC.

"He survived this far because Gono refused to bend to pressure from the ruling party and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) who both complained of his hardline editorial policy which they said was harming the party and favouring the MDC," said a source.

Gono appointed Chamunorwa to head the paper on May 5, 2003. Before his appointment, Chamunorwa was Gono's advisor and public and investor relations executive at the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) where the central bank chief was managing director and chief executive officer.

Chamunorwa has had clashes with senior Zanu PF politicians, notable among them Ignatious Chombo, the Local Government and Public Works Minister who at one time threatened the former Fingaz editor-in-chief.

Chombo was implicated in a bribery scandal covered by Fingaz.