The government-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has
suspended seven senior journalists for being ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œresponsibleÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â for Zanu PF
and President Robert MugabeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s losses in the March elections, reports
The suspended are Robison Mhandu, the General Manager for TV Services, News Editor Patrice Makova, News and Current Affairs Producers Sibonginkosi Mlilo and Monica Gavhera, reporters Brian Paradza and Robert Tapfumaneyi. Also suspended is the technical department manager, Lawrence Maphosa.
Their suspension, pending dismissal, comes weeks after the state broadcasterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s CEO, Henry Muradzikwa was fired over what Zanu PF and government sources say was seen as inadequately favourable coverage of MugabeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s election campaign.
According to the letters sent to the seven, the reason for their suspension was that they failed to perform the duties outlined in their employment contracts.
Muradzikwa, a former Sunday Mail and Ziana News Agency Editor in Chief,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â was replaced by well-known Mugabe supporter and war veteran Happison Muchechetere.
Mathew Takaona, the president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists criticized the suspensions of the journalists saying it was Zanu PFÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s method of trying to manipulate state media journalists for the partyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s own selfish gains.
He said: "The dismissal is an unfair labour practice and we suspect that it is politically motivated. It is unfortunate that this is being implemented on professionals. The management has overreacted. It is irrational, illogical and the move will further cripple an already grounded station. We demand an immediate reinstatement without loss of benefits."