By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
18 February 2014
In a move that has left many questioning his judgment, information minister Jonathan Moyo has withdrawn the appointment of the ZBC board chairman Dennis Magaya.
The decision to rescind Magaya’s appointment came barely 24 hours after Moyo announced a new board to manage the national broadcaster. In a statement Monday Moyo said the decision was reached after it came to light that Magaya was facing serious allegations of inflated consultancy fees at Powertel.
Ironically, when announcing the board on Sunday, Moyo said the new board was appointed following the ‘necessary consultations’ that started after the dissolution of the previous ZBC board last year.
But as it later turned out those consultations may not have been thorough. According to the statement the ministry of information only learnt Monday that Magaya was facing allegations of corruption. More embarrassingly for the information minister, his statement cites earlier press reports on the allegations which Magaya faces.
Just before his appointment, it was reported that in 2012 Magaya was controversially appointed a strategy consultancy at Powertel. He is earning a monthly salary of $44, 000, almost the same amount as the suspended ZBC CEO, Happison Muchechetere. According the Financial Gazette report Magaya’s earnings which include a bonus of $18, 000, amount to $500,000 per annum.
Transparency International Zimbabwe Chairman Loughty Dube said the case of Magaya is ‘reflective of the chaos prevailing in Zimbabwe.’ Dube said: ‘This is an indicator that there is no thought put to issues of moral uprightness in appointing people to such positions. We believe that these people are appointed to be rewarded for whatever they would have done for ZANU PF.’
He added: ‘If Moyo had been thorough as he says he was in his search for a new board he certainly would not have come up with a person like Magaya.’
According to the reports Magaya has been replaced by the Catholic Church cleric Father Gibson Munyoro. Moyo also added retired diplomat Pritchard Zhou to the board.
The eleven member board which includes strong ZANU PF supporters raised eyebrows as soon as it was announced. Ahead of Moyo’s latest move MDC-T’s Settlement Chikwinya, who sits on the Parliamentary committee on media and information criticized the appointments. Chikwinya said he was going to register his disquiet with Moyo for appointing Magaya and some of his colleagues, one of whom has a legal case hanging over her head.
Board member Cleopatra Shingirai Matanhire-Mutisi, the wife of Brigadier-General Francis Mutisi was two years ago reported to have ordered two soldiers to assault her 13-year old nephew who she accused of stealing $70.
This was after she had locked the minor up for two days without food or water. Reports said she joined in the assault before leaving the two soldiers to beat the child who later died. Mutisi has appeared in court facing murder charges but in December 2013 she was granted temporary reprieve after the state could not provide her with a trial date.