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Zimbabwean Journalism Fraternity Thrown Into Mourning as Three Scribes Die in One Day

  • Tatenda Gumbo

King Dube, Salatiel Mutasa and Orirando Manwere’s deaths, in separate instances, have shocked the media industry that is still mourning the passing recently of three other veteran journalists

The Zimbabwean journalism fraternity has once again been thrown into mourning following the passing of three veteran journalists in one day.

King Dube, Salatiel Mutasa and Orirando Manwere’s deaths, in separate instances, have shocked the media industry that is still mourning the passing recently of three other veteran journalists.

Secretary general Foster Dongozi of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists said their deaths have dealt a huge blow to an industry still to recover from years of intimidation and related ills.

Dube and Manwere died Monday at St. Anne’s and West End hospitals respectively, while Mutasa succumbed to diabetes at Harare hospital.

Dube, 47, is a former news producer and presenter at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation. At the time of his death he was a co-director of media company, Video Audio Network.

Among other media organizations, Manwere worked for the Zimbabwe Independent and Sunday News and at the time of his death he was the communications officer at the National Aids Council.

Mutasa served at Ziana, the Chronicle and New Ziana in various editorial positions. He was the editor of Masvingo Star at the time of his death.

Dongozi said it was unfortunate that death has robbed the media industry of three experienced scribes within 24 hours, adding they were committed to the strengthening of ZUJ's operations and the need to improve journalists' livelihoods.

“This is a very difficult period for the media industry and for me personally,” said Dongozi. “I had the privilege to work and interact with these three seasoned journalists on different platforms and fondly cherish their work ethic and professionalism.”

“It’s indeed a major blow to the media industry.The gap that these three astute media practitioners have left will be difficult to fill.”

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Media Council has warned media houses registered in Zimbabwe that they will be fined heavily for failing to pay outstanding levies to the organization as prescribed by the law.

Chief executive officer Tafataona Mahoso served media houses with a letter giving them up to the end of March to pay up under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Under the law, criticized by many activists as draconian, all registered media organizations in the country are required to pay a 0.5 percent levy of its audited gross annual turn over to the ZMC.

The payment must be made no later than 90 days after the end of year, or media houses face a doubling of the levy.

Mahoso did not reveal the media houses that have not paid but media proponents have long called for the repeal of AIPPA saying it is draconian and meant to muzzle the press.

Chairman Godfrey Majonga of the ZMC told VOA's Tatenda Gumbo the media houses should pay up.

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