By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
29 July, 2014
The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has reportedly rejected an invitation to appear before the controversial media panel created by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, insisting that the panel is duplicating the responsibilities of the constitutionally appointed Commission.
The Independent Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) had invited the ZMC to participate in their ongoing investigations into the state of media in Zimbabwe, as dictated by the panel’s terms of reference under Moyo’s guidance.
But the commissioners flatly turned down the invitation, in a strongly-worded letter from ZMC chairperson Godfrey Majonga, which was addressed to IMPI chairperson Geoff Nyarota, and copied to Minister Moyo himself and his Permanent Secretary George Charamba.
According to NewZimbabwe.com, Majonga explained that the ZMC had powers to conduct similar investigations as stipulated by sections 50 and 51 of the Constitution. He suggested that IMPI was competing with these powers and parliament could not duplicate the functions of institutions created under the law.
This adds another blow to Moyo, who has been under fire for creating a pointless institution whose research has already been done by others and whose huge budget is a waste of public funds and resources. Several legislators, including some from his own ZANU PF party, raised the same concerns last week when IMPI appeared before a parliamentary committee.
Moyo was also recently blasted by President Robert Mugabe during one of his long rants at a burial at the Heroes Acre, when he suggested there were “weevils” within ZANU PF who were using the media to foster divisions in the party.
Impi has a budget of $1.6 million and the panellists receive allowances of up to $300 per day while travelling across the country. Their research is also due to cover other countries in the SADC region before producing a report with recommendations meant to improve media in Zimbabwe.