Home » Governance » Muchechetere Hallucinating, Says Moyo

INFORMATION Minister Jonathan Moyo has denied ever hosting at his Harare home the suspended ZBC boss Happison Muchechetere as the CEO accused the minister of authoring the mess at the beleaguered public broadcaster.

Muchechetere was sent home by Moyo in November last year, accused of incompetence and failing, after being repeatedly asked, to come up with a turnaround programme for the insolvent broadcaster.

But Muchechetere has hit back, telling a local daily that he was being victimised for warning the minister about the “different sexuality” of his choice to head the ZBC during his first stint as information minister between 2000 and 2005.

Muchechetere claimed that before their fall-out, he was a regular guest at Moyo’s home in Harare.

“Then there was this day when he invited me to his home, then I thought I was going to aise him about this guy he wanted to appoint, Alum Mpofu,” said Muchechetere.

“As a journalist, I had heard rumour that he (Mpofu) was of a different sexual orientation … you know, and I thought I would aise Jonathan about that, but well I got a rude answer from him.

“I didn’t know that it hurt him so much that in the next few months I was out of my work because of that, because I had told him Mpofu was of a different sexual orientation, and he didn’t really like that.”

Moyo however denied Muchechetere ever visited his home.

“I’ve no problem welcoming people to my house, it’s an honour to do so, but I’ve never had opportunity or reason to welcome Mr Muchechetere to my house, never ever! At no time in his history did this happen,” Moyo told the Bulawayo Chronicle.

“But I can’t rule out that he has had dreams, hallucinations, of visiting my house and having fictitious conversations with me. I’m unable to comment on that.”

Mpofu was appointed ZBC chief executive in July 2001 but left the job a year later following claims he had been caught in a homosexual act in a Harare nightclub.

Former RBZ governor Gideon Gono chaired the ZBC board which appointed Mpofu.

Munyaradzi Hwengwere, who then Principal Secretary in the Department of Information and Publicity at the President’s Office, also denied Moyo had nothing to do with Mpofu’s appointment.

“Being in the Office of the President, I recommended Alum and called him myself knowing his qualifications,” Hwengwere also told Chronicle.

“At that time, Prof Moyo didn’t know him. I knew he was well-schooled in broadcasting and had been a senior manager at SABC. He then applied and got the job”.

“I also applied for the post of head of Newsnet, a position that I subsequently got. I know Alum for two reasons. We shared our early days at Manama and we come from Mberengwa.

“He was my senior at the University of Natal in South Africa and later worked as an audience research manager for the SABC. I did my research project at SABC, working under his office. It was around 1995.”

At the time Muchechetere was effectively sacked, the ZBC had failed to pay salaries to its workers for some seven months. The corporation’s monthly wage bill stood at US$1,3 million against revenue of about US$300,000 a month.

Even so, Muchechetere said the problems could be traced back to Moyo’s first stint as Information minister when he forced a commercialisation arrangement on the ZBC which failed and had to be reversed at massive cost.

Muchechetere said under Moyo’s instruction, ZBC was split into ten separate companies each with a CEO and supporting management all with huge perks. Each company also had a board of directors made up of eight people each, all of whom had to be paid.

“What it meant is we had almost 80 board members for the whole group, all of them feeding from the (same revenue pot of the old ZBC) without any supporting improvement in revenues. You can imagine how much was going out,” charged Muchechetere.

“Moyo also retrenched 400 people, many of whom have now died without receiving anything. Those who lived later won a court order to be reinstated at ZBC and put back on the pay roll. So you can see how much was going out.”

When the commercialisation experiment failed, the separate companies had to be put together again with the respective management teams paid exit packages although they were re-incorporated into the re-bundled entity.

Said Muchechetere: “We were re-bundled together, all the 80 board members were dismissed and paid off. In addition, all the respective CEOs – including the current acting chief executive Allan Chiweshe – got their exit packages from these folding companies.

“They (all the CEOs) were given exit packages but still incorporated into the re-bundled ZBC and added to the payroll … and this was during the tenure of the current information minister, Jonathan Moyo.”

Efforts to increase revenue to cope with the increased expenditure were undermined by the difficult state of the economy, a problem not helped by an order not to take aerts from companies such as Econet.

“The then minister (Moyo) gave a directive that we should not take aerts from Econet … Moyo directed that no aerts would be entertained from Econet because there were problems between (the company) and government,” Muchechetere claimed.

“It is Jonathan Moyo who was responsible for the demise of ZBC.”

Source : New Zimbabwe