SOUTH AFRICA based Zimbabwe Newspaper Publisher, Editor & Special Advisor to MNANGAGWA` – Trevor Ncube purges critical editor as he delivers AMH as a prsent to the president
HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s adviser Trevor Ncube announced new editorial changes at his Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) on Tuesday, including a change of guard at the respected weekly, the Zimbabwe Independent.
Faith Zaba will take over as editor of the Independent from November 1, after Dumisani Muleya who has been at the helm for eight years was shunted to a newly-created position of “group editor at large.”
NewsDay editor Wisdom Mudzungairi has been promoted to editor in chief. He will continue editing the daily.
PRESS & FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN ZIMBABWE: The Zimbabwean constitution promotes freedom of the media and expression, however this is hampered by interference and the implementation of strict medialaws. In its 2008 report, Reporters Without Borders ranked the Zimbabwean mediaas 151st out of 173.
ZIMBABWE CONSTITUTION 2013
Kholwani Nyathi will continue as editor of The Standard, Ncube announced.
“The board is convinced that these changes will ensure we enhance the quality of service to our clients as well as be more efficient in the execution thereof,” the AMH chairman said.
AMH Chairman, Trevor Ncube speaks on meeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The meeting, Ncube said, was part of the media house’s initiative to meet stakeholders and discuss how the country can move forward and grow.
Ncube has leaned on his editors to be more positive about Mnangagwa’s regime, once publicly criticising NewsDay for correctly projecting that the bond note would weaken against the United States dollar.
Insiders say whereas Mudzungairi and Zaba were enthusiastic supporters of the military coup that ousted former President Robert Mugabe in 2017, Ncube had found Muleya intransigent with the Independent taking a stridently hostile editorial line to the regime.
Media groups fear Ncube has sacrificed Muleya to gain favours from the regime.
Three years after the adoption of the much-touted so-called progressive constitution that embraces media freedom and access to information, journalists and media practitioners in Zimbabwe say the operating environment has not improved as some of them are at times arrested and intimidated by the state. Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world today in commemorating World Press Freedom Day amid concerns that the government has not scrapped media laws like the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act or AIPPA, Public Order and Security Act and Broadcasting Services Act, which are widely viewed as impeding media freedom in the country.
Independent journalist Pindai Dube said journalists continue to operate while fearing for their lives.
“Nothing much has changed because journalists are being arrested. We had journalists from Newsday and Sunday Mail being arrested. We have a paper tiger government that has good laws but does not implement them. Recently we had the High Court quashing criminal defamation and we even have government officials criticizing some of the media laws but nothing practical has been done. Nothing has changed.”
Zaba accompanied Ncube to a meeting with Mnangagwa in January 2018, at which she handed over a framed front page of NewsDay which carried a headline of Mnangagwa declaring that Mugabe would be ousted within weeks.
A month later, Ncube visited Mnangagwa’s wife, tweeting later that it was a “courtesy call.”
He was finally rewarded for his enthusiastic support for the regime when Mnangagwa named him to a Presidential Advisory Council early this year.
Reports say Ncube recently opened talks with Mnangagwa’s son-in-law Gerald Mlotshwa to take up 30 percent shareholding in AMH, which would complete the ongoing moves to capture the media group.