Chronicle Newspaper Under Fire

In a story published on Wednesday July 28 the paper said the family described as “a mockery and insult” government’s decision to erect the national hero’s statue at Karigamombe centre in Harare.

“We are being probed for publishing a story which is seen as opposing the position of Zanu (PF) on the issue,” said a worker in the editorial department who requested not to be named for fear of victimisation.

The Chronicle worker told Radio VOP that by publishing such a story, the paper was seen to have taken the same stance as the “so called western sponsored private media”.

“We have been told that the big bosses in Harare want to know how that story was allowed to go through in our paper and it is likely that some heads will roll over the issue.”

Analysts said it was also insulting that the statue was made in North Korea, which trained the infamous Five Brigade. The brigade was responsible for the massacre thousands of civilians in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions during the “Gukurahundi” era in the early 80s.

Meanwhile, Zany (PF) officials were said to be worried about the loyalty of some of the journalists in the Zimbabwe Newspapers stable following the exit of some of the most trusted and experienced reporters to the NewsDay which was recently granted a licence by the Zimbabwe Media Commission.

Among those who have left are the former News Editor of the Sunday News Dumisani Sibanda and Chronicle senior reporter Owen Gagare both of whom have joined the NewsDay.

Prior to moving to the Sunday News Dumisani Sibanda was a special projects editor, a position created by the former Minister of Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo to prop up the image of Zanu (PF) while destroying that of the then opposition MDC party led by Morgan Tsvangirayi.

“The bosses are aware that more journalists will soon leave to join the Daily News which is likely to be on the streets before the end of September this year.”

Reporters at Zimpapers are said to have been incensed by a statement by Group Chief Executive Officer Justin Mutasa soon after the licensing of more newspapers by the ZMC.

Mutasa is said to have told editors that those who want to leave were free to go.

A reporter at the Chronicle told Radio VOP that they had realised that they will not survive on patriotism.

”How can we not join the new papers when we are being offered salaries that are three times what we are getting at Zimpapers. After all they continue to improve the packs for the top brass while the workers are suffering. We have now realised that we don’t eat patriotism.”