Mahoso is regarded as a media hangman, after he caused the arrest of several journalists and closure of newspapers in Zimbabwe, resulting in loss of jobs, under the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), when he was chair of the defunct Media Information Commission (MIC).
Mahoso who was brought back to the new ZMC in unclear circumstances, is also seen as a Zanu (PF) propagandist after writing several stories in the state-owned Herald in support of the harsh media laws and President Robert Mugabe.
A ZMC commissioner, who requested anonymity, said they had held several meetings with international and local donors who had expressed their unwillingness to donate to ZMC activities because of the presence of Mahoso.
“Donors are playing a wait and see attitude. Some of them have clearly indicated their displeasure over the presence of Mahoso.We have had a number of meetings with some of them who are saying they have no confidence in the ZMC, especially in the presence of Mahoso. What we have told them is that they should remember that like the inclusive government, everything came as a result of a compromise and we have promised them that we will deliver.”
“It is not donors only who are complaining about Mahoso, even the majority of journalists have expressed disappointment,” he said. “The problem we are having is that we do not have the funds to establish our own secretariat and new infrastructure. What we have told the Mahoso staff, which is doing all the accreditation is that they should not deny any journalist accreditation. If they have any doubt we have told them to direct such issues to us, “said the official.
He said they were not sure of how long Mahoso will be at the ZMC.
“We do not have the time-frame of Mahoso’s continued existence at ZMC. But from the look of things, he will be there for as long as Webster Shamu remains the Minister of Information and Publicity, because he is his right hand man. But this will not compromise our service delivery because we are tightly monitoring every activity, “added the official.
Recent media reports said the ZMC was facing financial constraints and had postponed an important workshop aimed at expediting the licensing of newspapers owing to financial problems.