By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
20 February, 2014
The Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo, has been branded a hypocrite and received strong criticism, following statements he made defending an alleged murderer and fraudster, both of whom he recently appointed board members at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
Addressing reporters on Wednesday, Moyo dismissed media reports that exposed the criminally tainted backgrounds of Cleopatra Mutisi and Gelfand Kausiyo, insisting they have the technical expertise needed to turn around the broke and scandal-ridden national broadcaster. This was after firing the previous board over corruption issues.
The wife of a Brigadier General, Mutisi is alleged to have ordered two soldiers to assault her 13-year-old nephew after accusing the child of stealing $70. She is now facing murder charges following the teenager’s death and is awaiting a trial date. But Moyo pointed to her skills as financial manager instead.
Kausiyo was accused of plagiarizing an SABC technical report in 2011, which was submitted as part of a failed KissFM application for a national radio license. It was later revealed Kausiyo had forged the report himself. The SABC fired him. But Moyo defended him saying: “Plagiarism has nothing to do with broadcasting.”
The comments were made after Moyo fired Dennis Magaya just hours following his appointment as chairman of the new ZBC board. Magaya had controversially earned an exorbitant salary as a business consultant at a ZESA subsidiary.
Former ZBC journalist Bekithemba Mhlanga said Moyo faced the dilemma of finding a board with “as less dirt as possible”. And by allowing the tainted and exposed individuals to carry on, he is discarding the same principles that he applied to the old board and to Magaya.
“He is now trying to hide behind the context of people being innocent until proven guilty and that people’s rights should not be violated and they should be given a second chance in life. This whole story has taken on a life of its own which Jonathan Moyo cannot control,” Mhlanga explained.
Despite their tainted histories, Moyo said Mutisi and Kausiyo’s cases had “no constitutional, administrative and/or moral issues” involved.
Zimbabweans responded with a barrage of comments on the state-run Herald news site, blasting Moyo for being a hypocrite.
One reader wrote: “Whilst we are urging others with “financial issues” to resign on ethical grounds, you are appointing others with “murder issues” onto boards. Incredible!”
Another ranted: “So why appoint people whose backgrounds are soiled? Board members should be exemplary in ways they conduct themselves at work and in their private lives.”
“I said it that people are in too much of a rush to praise this charlatan, Moyo, who is playing a political game to have his people at the trough. How can a person with issues of dishonesty be expected to clean up the house?” said another Herald reader.