By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
17 February 2014
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has announced a new board for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). It will be chaired by telecoms entrepreneur Dennis Magaya, who is currently embroiled in the ‘salarygate’ scandal.
Magaya, 44, will lead a ten-member board, some of whom have in the past been involved in nefarious activities and the remainder are strong supporters of the ruling party. The other members of the board are Ndabezinhle Dlodlo, Phyllis Johnson, South Africa-based Zimbabwean broadcast engineer Gelfand Kausiyo and Donald Khumalo.
Also on the board are film maker Joyce Jenje-Makwenda, ZANU PF apologist and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Charity Manyeruke, Rudo Mudavanhu, Gibson Munyoro, Cleopatra Matanhire-Mutisi and Blessing Rugara.
Recently the weekly Financial Gazette revealed that in 2012 Magaya was controversially appointed as a strategy consultant to a ZESA subsidiary company. He is earning a monthly salary of $44,000, almost the same amount as the suspended ZBC CEO, Happison Muchechetere. The revelations come at a time when workers at the company are grappling with low salaries.
It was reported that Magaya is currently pocketing a monthly salary of over $25,000 plus a bonus of $18,000, which translates into an annual salary of over $500,000. He is entitled to this package up to August this year, and the salary could be reviewed upwards at this time.
Settlement Chikwinya, the MDC-T MP for Mbizo in KweKwe, said the new board contains many individuals with dubious characters. In the case of Gelfand Kausiyo, the MP said he was suspended by the SABC last year, following allegations he used a plagiarised document in a failed bid for Kiss FM for a radio license. Kausiyo worked in SABC’s technical department in South Africa.
Then there is the issue of Cleopatra Shingirai Matanhire-Mutisi, the wife of Brigadier-General Francis Mutisi. She was in the news in late 2012 for allegedly unleashing two soldiers on her 13-year-old nephew, who she accused of stealing $70.
She is alleged to have locked the child up for two days without food or water before ordering the two soldiers to assault him. Mutisi allegedly then joined them in the morning to assault the boy before leaving for her rural home.
The soldiers then beat the nephew again and he died. Mutisi has appeared in court facing murder charges. In December 2013 she was granted a temporary reprieve, following the State’s failure to furnish her with a trial date.
Settlement Chikwinya, who sits on the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on media, broadcasting and information, described this new board as a unit that will not give advice, but will merely prop up the minister.
‘What do you expect from a board full of bootlickers and ZANU PF supporters? This does not augur well with the institution. This is why we saw ZBC failing to live up to competition to the extent that workers went for 7 months without salaries.
‘Looking at the other board members, I have no respect at all for Charity Manyeruke, a known ZANU PF supporter and mouthpiece, masquerading as a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. She is in the same bracket as Sylvester Nguni and Psychology Mazivisa. For Moyo to expect policy advice from Manyeruke is like expecting advice from a tout at Mbare Musika,’ the MP said.
Chikwinya said he would raise the issue with Moyo in parliament and demand an explanation on why he picked people with little media experience and with serious legal cases hanging over their heads.