By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
18 July, 2014
Workers at the state broadcaster ZBC are reported to have blasted Information Minister Jonathan Moyo for ruining their lives and their work environment, before walking out of a meeting with a media panel that was formed by the Minister himself.
The Independent Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) had called a meeting at ZBC in Harare on Thursday to discuss grievances from the reporters and staff, whose salaries were cut to 2010 levels when Moyo returned to his former post as Information Minister after last year’s elections.
According to the NewZimbabwe.com website the workers told IMPI that their families are starving and they are working with equipment that is obsolete and in need of repair, blaming Moyo for their situation, then walking out.
The report quotes one worker saying: “The person who sent you is the author of our misery here, so go back and tell him that we want our salaries, otherwise we have nothing to say.”
Another reportedly shouted: “Everyone including the government knows our challenges so you are wasting our time coming here.”
SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme, who attended several briefings addressed by Moyo in Bulawayo this year, said the Minister always seems more interested in promoting his own image rather than helping the workers.
“He even berated the workers at ZBC saying they were inefficient. He suggested that an overhaul was needed at the state broadcaster but he has done nothing to improve things. He seemed not to care about the welfare of the workers and preferred to cleanse his image instead of addressing their concerns,” Saungweme explained.
Moyo formed the IMPI panel to investigate the state of media in Zimbabwe and draft a report making recommendations for improvement. The project has a budget of $1.6 million and panellists are being paid a hefty sum to travel countrywide and within the region.
But Saungweme said the Minister has received strong criticism for wasting public money to investigate what is already in the public domain and has been studied by other independent media groups, including the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe.
Moyo is also known for being the author of Zimbabwe’s oppressive media laws, which are still being used to prosecute journalists, media practitioners and ordinary citizens who speak out for their basic rights.