Recent happenings at the State-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) in general and in particular the findings that the parastatal’s chief executive Happison Muchechetere, who is on forced leave, was earning a salary and allowances totalling about $40 000 a month while workers went for six months without pay has thrown up a number of ethical issues touching on professionalism, integrity, loyalty, patriotism and trust.
There is need to dissect the facts leading to the build-up to the Muchechetere saga, so as to shed further light on the imbroglio. It is important to note that the unceremonious dismissal of Henry Muradzikwa shortly after the 2008 harmonised elections was cleverly orchestrated to create the much-needed lacuna for official high-handedness and graft.
It will also be recalled that the Information and Publicity ministry sacked ZBC chiefs and editorial managers all in one fell swoop, leaving the Cuthbert Dube board to appoint Muchechetere. Muchechetere immediately shopped for more docile and subservient persons who would not only dance to his tune without asking questions, but would also go the extra mile to protect his interests. This exercise ordinarily appeared as a normal repositioning effort.
But it is the disclosures by Media, Information and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira that Muchechetere had drawn salaries and allowances approximated at
$2,28 million since his appointment in May 2009 that boggles the mind. Clearly the era of dog eat dog has fully evolved at ZBC!
Yes, the idea of State enterprises has been common across the world where governments are widely involved in the direct ownership of companies, production and distribution of a variety of goods and services.
We believe Dube’s board is culpable as much as Muchechetere, but who appointed the board if it’s not Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo’s predecessor Webster Shamu?
Muchechetere’s obscene perks were set and approved by the board with the concurrence of Shamu. Where is the oversight role of the board and the ministry if Muchechetere set his own perks without approval? What role did Dube’s board play in this mess which saw the majority of the workers failing to get paid?
What was the oversight role of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee in this saga? Should Muchechetere repay the $2,8 million he collected?
We ask this because it appears Muchechetere is now the fall guy. Even if Muchechetere is eventually charged, it is important to charge the Dube board as well.
The public still needs to understand who was in charge of what; who set the direction and parameters within which the direction was pursued; who made decisions about what; who set key performance indicators, monitored progress and evaluated results; and who was accountable to whom for what?