Mugabe, PM clash over media reforms

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President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have reportedly clashed over media reforms amid reports the principals directed the Media, Information and Publicity ministry to reconstitute boards to head the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and the Mass Media Trust.

According to Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka, the principals in the shaky inclusive government on Monday gave the ministry a three-week deadline to reform the media bodies in tandem with the Global Political Agreement.

But Mugabe and the ministry spokesperson George Charamba refuted the allegations.
Tamborinyoka also said principals received a report from the Copac management committee with regard to the status of the draft constitution.

Central to the crisis within the Copac draft was the issue of age limit and terms of the President which reportedly bar Mugabe from contesting the next election.

He said: “Following the Monday meetings, principals gave a directive to the ministry (of Media, Information and Publicity) three weeks to reconstitute the bodies of the Mass Media Trust, ZBC and BAZ. They have to comply with that directive.”

Charamba, however, said:“There has not been any directive from the principals because the boards in question are in order, and there is no law that states that staffing a board is based on a political formula, MDC must go for elections, win and then appoint their board members.

“On the issue of the Mass Media Trust, the Ministry of Finance did not give us money to fund it, so to me it is poor public policy to create a board without funds, I am not going to do that.”

On age limit, Charamba said the issue was not critical, but “the principals were worried with the tardy progress and have asked the drafters to have a sense of urgency and direction. The principals now require a weekly update on the progress of the draft constitution, not their mediocre document that deals with Mugabe instead of a timeless constitution”.

BAZ came under spotlight when it awarded radio licences to AB Communications and Zimpapers, companies that are allegedly linked to Zanu PF.