Zimbabwe’s Chronicle editor Mduduzi Mathuthu has been forced out from the state controlled daily newspaper and seconded to the obscure Southern Times Newspaper in Windhoek Namibia.
The Southern Times is a joint venture between Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited and New Era of Namibia.
Zimbabwe Newspapers chief executive officer Pikirayi Deketeke hand delivered the letter to Mathuthu in Bulawayo. The letter leaked to VOA Studio 7 is dated 17 May and reads:
"Secondment to the Southern Times Newspaper As Editor.
The above matter refers. I am pleased to advise that you have been appointed on secondment to the Southern Times Newspaper as the Editor with effect from 23 May, 2016 until further notice on your current terms and conditions of service.
You shall be based in Windhoek, Namibia at the Southern Times Offices. The General Manager of the Southern Times shall formally facilitate your accommodation arrangements.
I wish you the best in your new challenging position as Editor of the Southern Times Newspaper and I have no doubt in my mind that you will rise to the challenge.
Please be advised that Mr I. (Innocent- deputy Chronicle editor) Madonko has also been appointed as acting Editor at the Chronicle effective 23 May 2016.”
Mathuthu was an editor of New Zimbabwe.com and Bulawayo bureau chief for the Daily News and he was appointed Chronicle editor in 2013. He took over from Itai Musengeyi. Ironically Musengeyi was also seconded to the Southern Times.
Sources at Zimpapers told VOA Studio 7 that Mathuthu fell victim to the factional fights in the ruling Zanu-PF party. Mathuthu is alleged to have been close to higher education minister and former information minister Professor Jonathan Moyo linked to a faction of Young Turks called Generation 40.
The faction is engaged in a bitter struggle with a rival group called Team Lacoste which backs vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. The open feuding within ZANU-PF has intensified, as rivals battle to succeed 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe.