WASHINGTON DC —
Zimpapers Group Editor-in-Chief Pikirayi Deketeke has sent Herald editor Caesar Zvayi on forced leave after publishing a story which attacked former central bank chief Gideon Gono, a Zanu-PF Buhera Senate elect, for hiring political rival and Movement for Democratic Change secretary general Tendai Biti, to defend him on corruption allegations leveled against him by independent lawmaker Munyaradzi Kereke.
In a statement, Deketeke said Zvayi has been suspended until January 17 next year but will be on full pay.
Some senior Zanu-PF officials told Studio 7 that they are concerned that the Herald is now being used in factional fights between Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who are said to habour presidential ambitions.
The two have, however, refuted allegations that they lead rival factions tussling to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
But senior Zanu-PF officials led by party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa have been complaining about the editorial stance of the Herald, forcing the Politiburo to discuss the issue and urge Information Minister Jonathan Moyo to reign-in the editors.
In a statement last night, Moyo blasted the Herald for unprofessional conduct and defaming Gono.
Gono also released a statement accusing the herald of being used by his political opponents.
University of Zimbabwe political analyst Shakespeare Hamauswa told Studio 7 Zvayi is being used as a pawn in the complicated Zanu-PF chess game.