WASHINGTON DC —
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo on Thursday moved in to reverse the decay at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) by dissolving the state broadcaster’s board and placing its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Happison Muchechetere on forced leave.
ZBC General Manager for Radio Services, Allan Chiweshe, was immediately installed as Acting CEO.
Minister Moyo, whose frustrations with the broadcaster’s management for incompetence is a matter of public record, said he was forced to wield the hatchet in the “national interest” after the board failed to produce a turnaround strategy for the institution.
“In the circumstances, and upon appropriate consultations, the ZBC Board is hereby dissolved with immediate effect,” Moyo said in a statement.
“In the same vein and with immediate effect, the ZBC Chief Executive Officer Happison Muchechetere is hereby sent on leave with full pay until further notice. “This decision has been taken in order to enable a full due diligence and organizational audit of ZBC,” the Minister added.
The removal of Muchechetere and his board, Moyo said, would “facilitate the crafting and implementation of the long-delayed turnaround strategy which the national broadcaster deserves and must now have in the national interest.”
Minister Moyo’s move is sure to inspire hope among hundreds of miserable ZBC staffers who have had to endure months of nonpayment while their bosses were said to be rewarding themselves with hefty incomes – despite the fact that the public broadcaster was virtually broke.
An unnamed state broadcaster employee broke down the salary discrepancies to The Zimbabwe Independent recently as follows: “The least paid manager nets around US$7,000, while general managers get about US$18,000, heads of department around US$14,000 and the highest paid manager more than $20,000. The rest of the employees (reporters and supporting staff) get below US$1,000.”
The dissolved board comprised of Chairperson Cuthbert Dube, his deputy Doreen Sibanda and members Gibson Mashingaidze, Bob Nyabinde, Farai Mutamangira, Job Jonhera, Benjamin Mabenge, Felix Muchemwa, Trevor Manhanga, Clemence Mabaso and one, M. Manuhwa.
Moyo noted that ZBC had for sometime faced “critical leadership and managerial challenges that have not only compromised the national broadcaster’s capacity to effectively and meaningfully discharge its broadcasting mandate but which have also negatively affected the welfare interests of ZBC employees.”