Zimbabwe's Retrenchment Board has ruled against the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings' (ZBH) bid to retrench six of its journalists, according to a media release from the Media Institute of Southern Africa.
The six were suspended in June 2008 on allegations of "acting in a manner inconsistent with the fulfillment of the implied conditions" of their contracts.
Monica Gavela, Patrice Makova, Garikai Chaunza, Bright Paradza, Robert Tapfumaneyi and Sibonginkosi Mlilo were suspended following allegations that the state broadcaster had failed to adequately campaign for President Robert Mugabe in the run-up to the 29 March 2008 elections.
The board ruled that ZBH failed to follow proper retrenchment procedures and should have met with the Works Council before coming up with the decision to retrench them. ZBH was then advised to start the process afresh if they still wished to retrench the journalists.
Their suspensions came barely a month after the dismissal of the then-chief executive officer Henry Muradzikwa on 14 May for refusing ministerial orders to deny the opposition Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) favourable coverage in the run-up to the elections. MISA-Zimbabwe's investigations indicated that the journalists were being victimised for not showing enough enthusiasm in supporting the government of President Robert Mugabe. The ZBH is run under directives of the Ministry of Information and Publicity.