Zimpapers burns as staff pours out discontent over empire boss

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By Staff Reporter

JOURNALISTS and some staff members at state-controlled Zimpapers say if major shareholders do not work to restore sanity at the country’s biggest media empire, a collapse was imminent.

The journalists who spoke on condition of anonymity said while most of the blame could be attributed to the “old and tired” Zimpapers board chairperson Tommy Sithole, the middle managers have also pushed workers into the abyss.

“Apparently, whilst the late Godwin Muzari had his personal issues, he didn’t find solace at work where he was also faced with middle level managers who did not take his plight seriously but rather threatened him with dismissal,” the staffer told this publication.

On the WhatsApp platform, it became apparent there were simmering issues affecting general staff at the biggest diversified media house in the country.

“The immediate reaction was that general staff should use anonymous means to air their views to the chairman of the board,” said the staffer.

The senior journalists at the Herald felt the allocation of resources especially vehicles were not fair.

“Office secretaries have personal vehicles allocated to them for use whilst editors have to scramble for pool cars after working long hours,” he said.

“During the lockdown, the managers got fuel coupons and other gadgets to work from home.

“At StarFM, a mini revolt erupted when popular radio presenter Phathisani (Sibanda) threatened to resign over unfair work practices and unfulfilled perks.

“Head office dispatched the group human resources manager to quell the uprising but not before Iyati Takayendesa the programmes manager and her deputy RK Richard Kohola were removed from their posts.”

Iyati is now the online manager whilst RK is events manager.

A similar uprising in the news department against Linda Muriro was crushed after Chikoto and Simemeza protected her.

“She is described as autocratic and is related to the Zimpapers CEO (Pikirayi) Deketeke and that makes her untouchable,” said the source.

“Promotions at Zimpapers are based on loyalties and not competence and this has resulted in massive exodus of experienced staff to avoid the toxic environment.

“With imminent allocation of a TV licence, the established staff are not excited about contributing to the station which will require content across the various media platforms to be competitive.

“Whilst it may seem as if Sithole is the fall guy, the rot is across the board with general workers feeling despondent.”

Zimpapers, in recent months, has lost close to three dozen staff members who have resigned due to poor working conditions.