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CIOGATE: LATEST ON SCANDAL

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By Lebo Nkatazo

THE Central Intelligence Organization which took over control of the Zimbabwe Mirror Newspaper Group (ZMNG) has failed to pay journalists and members of staff their salaries.

Staff at the paper on Thursday said they had not received their salaries which were due on January 25, and there was no explanation from management.

He also added that the CIO had failed to honor promises made when they booted out Ibbotson Day Mandaza, the proprietor of the two titles under the ZMNG -- the Daily Mirror and its sister paper the Sunday Mirror.

Journalists who spoke to New Zimbabwe.com described the situation at the Mirror as "bad".

“We were supposed to receive our salaries on January 25 but there is nothing at the bank. For the past seven days we have been checking and we don't know what's happening,” said the source.

The CIO were said to have failed to purchase computers as promised which has seen the Sunday Mirror journalists operating with only three computers. The Daily Mirror news desk has one computer, shared by journalists and their assistant editor.

Recently, the newspaper group employed a number of journalists to serve at bureaus countrywide, but they have not been dispatched as the CIO have failed to provide money for renting offices.

Late last year, the High Court ruled that the Mirror board, constituted by CIO fronts, must reinstate Mandaza, but it has refused to obey the court order, threatening journalists who may co-operate with him.

A media analyst, speaking to New Zimbabwe.com, said the problems at the Mirror were "as predictable as tomorrow following today".

"Market realities are beginning to rule the roost," said the analyst who preferred to remain anonymous.

He added: "The CIO is beginning to feel the pressure of market realities and they realise they can't continue to doll out money to non-profit making operations. This current situation has been brought by dwindling revenues, evaporating advertising and a shrinking readership.

"For everyone in the media watching the situation at the Mirror, this crash was inevitable because market realities always prevail over the pretences of President Mugabe's spies who are now in charge at the paper.

"(Reserve Bank Governor) Gideon Gono has been complaining about the trillions of dollars ploughed into loss-making parastatals, and we could be beginning to see restrictions in funding for the CIO's pet projects."
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