Liberation war veteran and Zanu-PF loyalist Happison Muchechetere
has been appointed the acting CEO of ZimbabweÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s state broadcaster, ZBH, following
the sacking of Henry Muradzikwa, writes Gugu Ziyaphapha.
Muchechetere worked at ZBH, Zimbabwe Broadcast Holdings, as the assignments
editor before being promoted to head the state-owned news agency, New Ziana.
Since 2007, the broadcast journalist was general manager at the governmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s
Gweru based shortwave radio station, Voice of Zimbabwe (VOZ). Another war
veteran and broadcaster, John Nyamhunga replaces Muchechetere as boss at VOZ.
During his tenure as reporter and assignments editor at ZBH, Muchechetere
personally travelled with President Robert Mugabe on overseas visits to cover
Information Ministry sources say Muchechetere is being roped in to tighten control
over official coverage to benefit the ruling Zanu-PF in the planned
presidential run-off election.
His predecessor Muradzikwa was fired for defying orders not to give the
opposition parties airtime on national TV and 4 radio stations. The
instructions allegedly came from information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and
MugabaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s spokesman George Charamba.
The ZBH board chairman ,Justine Mutasa said Muradzikwa
was axed because government as the shareholder was not happy with the way ZBH
was handling national issues.
Muradzikwa said although no clear reason was given, "ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s
only the part of the (dismissal) letter which says the shareholder had lost
confidence in me that probably says something about the reasons of my
Charamba and other Zanu-PF officials blame Muradzikwa and
ZBH for their partyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s and MugabeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s defeat in the elections.
Muradzikwa says it was not his fault that Mugabe lost because he was just
following the SADC guidelines on the public media and elections and
the Broadcasting Services Act which guides a public broadcaster.
"I religiously stuck to the statutes governing our operations as a broadcaster
as given in the amended Broadcasting Services of Zimbabwe Act. Nobody had the
right to instruct me on how to act as this was outside law," says
He is also the former editor-in-chief of the government-owned Sunday Mail and Ziana news agency.