DUMISANI Sibanda, the news editor of the state owned Sunday News newspaper, is the new president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), writes Lance Guma for SW Radio Africa.

Foster Dongozi the Secretary General who was re-elected unopposed, and who is an independent journalist, told Newsreel the Friday congress in Bulawayo went ahead without incident despite reports suggesting otherwise. It was predicted the congress would be bitterly contested following allegations that the outgoing executive was trying to cherry pick its successors.

Dongozi said the state-owned Zimpapers group which owns most of the government newspaper mouthpieces had invested heavily in busing people to the congress to try and influence the results. The organization forked out US$85 per delegate per night in accommodation costs. Even before the congress Zimpapers chief executive Justin Mutasa is said to have sponsored a retreat for state media journalists in Nyanga, to ensure they made up the majority of the journalists union.

Before the congress several journalists said they wanted to reform the union and accused former President Matthew Takaona of being a one-man band, mismanaging ZUJ affairs and ignoring the plight of journalists. It did not help Takaona’s cause that he was a former journalist at the Herald newspaper. Takaona however fired back, accusing his critics of being sponsored by politicians who wanted to control the union and its activities.

Click here to read the full report, posted on SW Radio Africa's website.