Eight senior Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) journalists have
been suspended pending dismissal after being accused of being
sympathetic to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), a
move insiders view as a purge of perceived "unpatriotic" workers at the
state broadcaster, writes Njabulo Ncube in the Financial Gazette.
The Financial Gazette has it on good authority the suspended journalists are Robson Mhandu (general manager Television Services), Patrice Makova (news editor), Robert Tapfumaneyi (senior reporter, general news), Brian Paradza (senior business reporter), Monica Gavhera (executive producer Nhau/Indaba Radio Service), Lawrence Maphosa (manager, TV Production), Sibonginkosi Mlilo (executive producer Nhau/Indaba Television) and Steven Ndoma (deputy Editor-in-Chief).
Benania Shumba, the head of human resources signed the letters of suspension handed to the affected employees on Tuesday on behalf of acting ZBC chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere.
One of the suspended journalists is alleged to have "saved" pictures of losing presidential independent candidate, Simba Makoni, on the broadcaster's desktops at Pocket's Hill.
"Another has been suspended on the grounds that a tape in his custody, which the authorities wanted to use in a case against the ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) leaders (Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo) in connection with utterances they made on May Day in Dzivarasekwa had its contents erased," said a source, speaking strictly anonymously because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Chibebe and Matombo were arrested last month over remarks attributed to them during Workers Day celebrations on May 1, at Dzivarasekwa Stadium, which authorities said incited workers to revolt against the government.
According to some of the letters seen by The Financial Gazette, the suspended employees are accused of violating the terms of their respective contracts and are barred from entering Pocket's Hill and other Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings premises.
They are prohibited from engaging any ZBH employees to "discuss any matter relating to the corporation's business activities."
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