Charamba’s ZBC memo opens can of worms

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THE publication of a memorandum authored by Information and Broadcasting Services secretary George Charamba to his former boss Webster Shamu on the rot at ZBC confirms the politicisation of the State broadcaster, free media lobby groups said yesterday.

NDUDUZO TSHUMA,STAFF REPORTER

Public media yesterday took the unprecedented step of publishing the internal communication between Charamba and Shamu revealing that problems at ZBC that were laid bare after Information minister Jonathan Moyo’s appointment last year were discussed as far back as 2012.

Moyo sent ZBC chief executive officer Happyson Muchechetere on forced leave following accusations of gross mismanagement and failure to pay workers.

A fortnight ago Charamba told MPs Shamu was aware of the rot but could not act because of the impending July 31 elections and the dysfunctional inclusive government that was in place at the time. However, the memo published in the Herald provided an intriguing insight into the mess at ZBC, which Charamba argues should not be blamed on politics.

He also insinuated in the memo that ZBC should not tolerate “opposition” elements within its structures, confirming long held fears that workers were forced to support a particular party.

“The nature of our politics nowadays is such that you will always have one or two staffers with oppositional tendencies.

“An effective management should be able to deal with such issues,” Charamba wrote.

“And one most effective way of doing so is by removing adverse factors that poison industrial relations.

“ZBC management does not appear to have done that.”

Nhlanhla Ngwenya, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe chapter director said the memo showed Charamba’s skewed understanding of the operations of a national broadcaster.

“No person should be discriminated on the grounds of political affiliation because everyone has a political ideology,” he said.

“The question should not be on political affiliation, but whether or not the worker speaks to the mandate of ZBC.

“He has let the cat out of the bag that if you are not Zanu PF you must not work for the State media.”

Ngwenya said ZBC was in its current mess because of political meddling as illustrated by Charamba’s memo.

“He told Parliament that Muchechetere was not qualified for the CEO post,” the Misa director said.

“Charamba is also to blame for the mess at ZBC because it shows that Muchechetere was hired through political consideration.

“He is trying to exonerate himself yet he is part of the ministry.”

Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe executive director, Loughty Dube said Charamba’s statements were worrying.

“It is a worrying statement from the permanent secretary. We expect people to be hired on professional lines,” he said. “We expect employees of ZBC to work in a professional manner and be apolitical in discharging their duties.

“Remember ZBC is a public organisation meant to serve the people of Zimbabwe in a professional way.”

Charamba, who also doubles up as President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, revealed in the memo that he was opposed to the $10 million lawsuit against The Standard by ZBC.

The newspaper had written a story about ZBC managers paying themselves huge salaries while their subordinates went unpaid.

“The attempt at suing The Standard for a negative article was ill-advised, and I dissuaded ZBC from such an unthoughtful action,” Charamba revealed.

“Incidentally, the CEO never approached this ministry on the same matter, even though he was going to drag a government concern into litigation.

“The rules are very clear: you don’t commit a concern’s money that way, let alone go to court, without the involvement of the shareholder.

“He did not even attempt to clear himself and his management to the shareholder on the issues raised by The Standard.”

ZBC has in the past tried to shrug off criticism that it is an extension of Zanu PF.

41 COMMENTS

  1. You haven’t started yet, by sunset, everybody will be exposed. If Charamba’s statement had come from the opposition, we would have heard that it was written in Western countries. Pedzeranai, handiti makahwinha!!!!

  2. Happyson is supposed to be sued by zbc 4 mismanagement and corruption. 2 shamu should be called 4 questioning

  3. Very unfortunate our own President s spokesman has the audacity to write such a memo. He is not even aware Mugabe is president of Zimbabwe. He upholds the law of Zimbabwe. Discriminating divers opinions is unconstitutional. ZBC is a national institution. It must save you as well as your critic. If you don’t give others the media space they may as well not contribute taxes that support ZBC. We need this Charamba fired by the president. May be no one is bold to discipline the ruling party.

  4. its so said…so all the news and reports we see on ztv are being done in a political manner! We ofcourse knew that, but for a perm sec who is being paid by our tax money to actually say one of an opposition affiliation should never work 4 a ”public broadcaster” is simply uncivalised to say the least. No wonder why we abondoned to watch that station way back in 2001. Woo to yo reporters there, yu hav been exposed. Kana iko kuda basa kwacho, going fo 8 months without pay! Yu are so desparate. Munonyadzisa!!

  5. charamba and moyo can u kindly allow Zbc managemnt to recruit atudents for attachment. Zbc is the only tv broadcaster we need to compplete our studies and have nowhere else to go thnk u inadvances

  6. This article is skewed, and tries to twist
    what Charamba wrote. Some idiotic comments by people who lackk facts. Read again the memo. There is no single line which stated that Zbc should be pro
    Zpf. Idiots take clear things in a hate drunken stupor. Charamba is actually very
    proffesional in that memo. Read and understand the english or just shut up. Idiots.

  7. And Reason I dont think you understand english yoself. What does these statements mean? “The nature of our politics nowadays is such that you will always have one or two staffers with oppositional tendencies……And one most effective way of doing so is by removing adverse factors that poison industrial relations.” Isnt it that Charamba belongs to ZPF? If he is talking of politics and opposition what does he mean.

    • Comrade Mbeu has taken leave of his senses. What the statement he/she has quoted means is this, that, 1.In any work environment, you will always have people of different political persuasions and likely to have different approaches to the same tasks, leading to a drop in productivity. 2. To manage such, authorities need to make sure that anything that might affect the hamonious working relations within the work envinronment is eliminated, in this case, the non-payment of workers’ salaries and waste of company resources through unending overseas trips. Well motivated, well paid workers, despite the political polirisation, are unlikely to spend time writing to the ACC or the minister thereby concentrating on the job at hand. Simple heh, Mbeu?

      • Saka munyika muno muchine madofo akadai saLokayi waNkomponi nhai? This is shocking. Pliz make a print out of the memo and go find someone that can translate it into your vernacular language. Hopefully, I say hopefully you will understand it better. You are talking of organisational politics here whereas Charamba and Muchechetere were referring to national politics being at play. Besides, Charamba goes on to mention that those politics are infact being played at the ministry level and ZBC should leave it to the ministry to do the politics. And you do not need JC english to note that Happison and crew were indeed meddling in this ZPF partronage politics.

  8. And all Zimbabwean,including those with ‘opposition tendencies’ are expected to pay TV licenses,this is absurd,,and to think that all along I thought ZBC was a ‘national’ broadcaster,,cry th beloved country

  9. this memo was deliberately leaked to expose Shamu and probablly exonorate Charamba but then did the rot at zbc start recently or it has been ongoing since the days of hondo yeminda and rambai makashinga.

  10. And the circus of Zimbabwe continues. This memo actually describes in detail how all our institutions both in the public and private sectors are being operated. Starting at the very top, the presidium.

  11. Charamba ngaatibvire apo anoda kuedza kubvisa mhonyongwa pamuviri wake oga iye aidhidha vose naShamhu mumadhaka . Isu nekuziva kwedu Charamba is a technocrat who was supposed to advice Cde Shamhu a political appointee to do the right things asi akatadza basa so nhasi ndopaanoda kuti vhenekera zvitsamba zvake ngaatibvire apo . Permanent Secretary ndivo mbambande yeMinistry yese so ndiye akatadza basa pamwe nana Mariyawanda Nzuwa kupa Shamhu dofo risina kumupa Zano rakanaka . Isu taizviziva kare ana Muchechetere qualification yaiva nayo maWar Credentials iye aizviona nguva dzose nhasi oda kutivhara kana dai akazviona akadii kunyevere mukweguri baba Chatunga sezvo aripaduze navo . Cde Shamu havana mhosva nokuti chakwesha chakasvozva mabhuku emedia Charamba akatadza kupa ZANU PF hoodlums zheve irinani

  12. Zimbabweans we are so polarised. We always think 2 ways, znpf or mdc. I read Charambas memo in the herald yesterday. Yes he said clearly that ztv jus like zimpapers had a specific political mandate. Thats not news we have always known that and no one has ever refuted that. But there were positives in the memo. Charamba toked of the CEO living in planes while his company is in turmoil. Thats commendable coming from someone who is close to the presidium. Cde Charamba this country is in a mess. Write another memo to the presidium to stay home and fund beam, fund health sector, water, electricity etc. You are otherwise an excellent per sec, be brave and pish for what is right

  13. This time around we need our president here in the country so that we look for solutions together. We want our president to talk to us and update us on what he is doing to solve our problems. Tiri tese na President wedu tinokunda chete…….

  14. It has been very clear for many years that ZBC had become ZANU PF Broadcasting Corporation. No ethical journalist would work for ZBC with a clear conscience. Only mercenaries and hardened party loyalists. I think Charamba is being insencire.

  15. IWE CHARAMBA UNOTAURISA. WHY ARE YOU TALKING PROFESSIONALY WHEN YOUR POST IS POLITICAL? IN ZIMBABWE WE DON’T CALL A SPADE “A SPADE”. USAKANGAMWA MUZUKURU WANGU BHURADHA WAKADZINGIGWA AIRPORT ISIPO KIKIKI…I.III!!!!! UNOFANIRA KUNYEPA! !!!!

  16. Ko nhai is it legal to publish a government memo addressed to a minister. Is this not subversion or breach of the official secrets act or AIPPA etc all those laws that hinder such acts.

  17. Kiikkikikiiii waita hako Charamba….idzi ndidzo news manje ah Herald yai fire zuro. Tipeyi zvimwe zvinoverengeka kwete mamwe mathumb suck stories amunombo nyora. More fire!! Icho. Who is next? ku ethanol kwa va Hon Mavhaire uko tinzwewo….kana kwaVachidhakwa ku ZMDC uko nyaya dzacho dzakato dhakwa kare nemagodha? Iya yaMasiimirembwa yakunawo Memo here?

  18. I suppose for all the years, Muchechetere was CEO at ZTV, Shamhu was preparing for elections and was to busy to do his job. i guess when you are a politician for that long you become a professional campaigner. Why not take on jobs as campaign managers for real politicians?

  19. Ko yaChibage yakapera sei,ko yaMasimirembwa,ko yaChigumba,ko yaNyasha Chikwinya kuHatcliff,ko yaCuthbert Dube,ko yaGono naKereke,ko tambo dzechitima chemagetsi,ko yekuZUPCO,ko matractor eARDA akazowanikwa here?Saka can we run a company nemamemo asina follow up?There is a rot in every parastatal.AnaHerald vanozongoita noise later zvisisina relevance.Ivo rot iri kwavo havarepoti.Nepotism at Herald,Newsday tsvagai izvozvo.Asiri hama yanhingi there ndiani?

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