HomeLocal NewsZBC loot saga: Residents ponder licence boycott

ZBC loot saga: Residents ponder licence boycott

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CITIZENS have a right not to pay Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) licensing fees if they suspect their money is being abused to foot the lavish lifestyles of top management at the corporation, residents’ associations have said.

WONAI MASVINGISE

On Monday it was disclosed that suspended ZBC boss Happison Muchechetere awarded himself a monthly package in excess of $40 000 including a $27 000 salary, allowances of up to $6 000, unlimited fuel allocation, payment of his mortgage loan, construction of a leisure area including a precast wall at his residence, and payment of as much as $2 500 for his domestic workers’ wages.

Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) director Precious Shumba yesterday told NewsDay: “Citizens must withhold their licensing fees if they are not happy, but have an obligation to pay what they can only afford and not what the management at ZBC thinks gives them money to exploit.

“The HRT welcomes the investigations being carried out at ZBC Holdings by the Ministry of Media, led by Professor Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Supa Mandiwanzira. They have led the way in exposing the rot at State parastatals where the executives are looting public resources as if they are working for profit-making entities.”

Shumba added that the licensing fees were also highly priced and the ministry should look into reducing them and improving the quality of programming at ZBC.

Radio licences range from $10 to $80 while those of televisions are between $50 and $100.

“What has been exposed at ZBC should serve as a test case of government’s sincerity when dealing with State-administered corruption,” Shumba added.

In a statement, the Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) said it was deeply shocked at the levels of looting at ZBC.

“Logically speaking, we connect the recent operation by ZBC which forces motorists and domestic television and radio owners to buy radio and TV licences so that individuals like Muchechetere can gallivant around the world with their families while the rest of Zimbabweans ‘enjoy’ old Chinese movies and repeated programmes week in and week out,” said CHRA.

CHRA added that Muchechetere’s case was indicative of the situation at many other parastatals in the country.

“The rot unravelled at the public broadcaster is only, but a piece of an iceberg for many State-owned corporates and other local authorities that are failing to deliver quality services because of this issue of mega-salaries being paid to top management whilst workers wallow in poverty,” said the association.

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