By Own Correspondent
Management at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reportedly blocked a public apology over offensive King Lobengula remarks made by presenters during last Tuesday’s edition of the broadcaster’s breakfast television programme.
And acting swiftly – perhaps in response to the shocking gaffe which torched a social media storm – the information ministry has, according to sources, appointed a new Board of Directors, in a development that effectively puts embattled CEO Adelaide Chikunguru on notice.
NewZimbabwe.com understands that only one member of the now removed Board, whose term ended on December 31, has been retained and will likely be interim Chairperson. The new 6-member team includes prominent Harare lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri (see information ministry letter below)
Meanwhile, betraying an incompetent grasp of history, presenters on Good Morning Zimbabwe (GMZ) glibly repeated the discredited colonial history claim that King Lobengula, the second and last king of the Ndebele Kingdom, gave his country away to British colonialists in return for sugar.
ZBC did not issue a public for the on-air gaffe and there was still no apology on its social media platforms late Wednesday afternoon.
Below are some of the comments;
Nhlanhla Bahlangene Dube: “Yeyeni batayi!!! Who is responsible for this ignorance, this insult stated with a giggle? Is it her parents, school system or her society?”
mawizzah_mawii ·”The results of hiring beauty without brains”
Godonga Masoka “Young lady where do you get that,why are you insulting Lobengula,what about nehanda and kagubi(sp) why don’t you talk about their wrong doings,don’t talk s**t here”
Deborah Mpofu Ndlovu “You chose a wrong platform to air your ignorance. I forgive you coz am sure you inherited this ignorance. But then i also challenge you to do more research and have better knowledge.”
Godonga Masoka “You know with this talk of yours you are creating division,you are laughing as you you people have done good in life.
Trust Matsilele “I hope they have been fired. They should not get a national platform to spew this drivel.”
Chikunguru is reportedly away on leave and her stand-in Fredius Dzumbunu, who is the marketing director, was not answering his mobile on phone and had also not responded to questions send to him via WhatsApp on Wednesday afternoon.
However, NewZimbabwe.com understands that authorities pressed the ZBC to issue an apology. According to sources, new information minister Jenfan Muswere’s position was that “heads must roll”.
“ZBC management were advised to issue an apology on Tuesday, but they ignored the advice, arguing it was not necessary,” said one official.
“And as the social media storm worsened, the acting CEO was again advised to publicly apologise. A draft apology was then prepared and cleared for publication; but we were taken aback to lean that it had been its release had been embargoed for reasons that remain unclear.”
Chikunguru, who was controversially appointed by former information minister Monica Mutsvangwa, has had a frosty relationship with Muswere who took over after last year’s general elections.
Members of the now-ousted board put on record their reservations over Chikunguru’s appointment but were overruled by the Ministry.
The CEO then pulled a shocker when she wrote a letter to the cabinet secretary accusing the new minister of professional harassment.
The letter – in which she touted her credentials as a daughter of liberation struggle fighters, was copied to war veterans minister Chris Mutsvangwa, husband to Monica Mutsvangwa who appointed the ZBC CEO.
While Monica was information minister, the Mutsvangwas angered cabinet colleagues by regularly hogging the headlines across public media, a development that has continued despite Monica being moved to the women’s affairs in the post-election cabinet.
“Monica Mutsvangwa continues to feature in State media because of her appointees such as Chikunguru,” said our source.
“She (Monica) also pushed through the appointment of a content director before security vetting results had been released because she wanted her choice to be confirmed before the cabinet reshuffle.”
Our source continued; “The vetting report has since been released and that choice was not cleared.
“The CEO has been instructed to regularise the appointment in line with the vetting report, but Board Chairman (now removed) wrote a letter insisting that the appointment could not be reversed as it had been approved by Mutsvangwa.”