By Prince Tongogara
Harare, February 17, 2014-Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo appointed discredited plagiarist Gelfand Kausiyo in the new Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) board announced on Sunday which is expected to change the ailing fortunes of the troubled state broadcaster.
Kausiyo hit the headlines in December 2011 when he presented a plagiarised SABC technical report during a failed KissFM application for a national radio licence.
KissFM, fronted by public relations guru Sharon Mugabe and included prominent personalisities like music icon Oliver Mutukudzi, banker Douglas Munatsi, broadcasters George Munetsi, and Musi Khumalo came out a distant third in the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) public hearings from the four shortlisted applicants including Voxmedia Productions’s VOP FM. The licences were finally awarded to Zanu PF linked Zimpaper’s StarFM and deputy information minister Supa Mandiwanzira’s ZiFM Stereo.
Kausiyo was later fired from SABC for the offence following his suspension and subsequent hearing.
The other new ZBC board members are chairman Dennis Magaya, Ndabezinhle Dlodlo, Phyllis Johnson, Donald Khumalo, Joyce Jenje-Makwenda,Charity Manyeruke, Rudo Mudavanhu, Father Gibson Munyoro, Cleopatra Matanhire-Mutisi and Blessing Rugara.
The new board replaces the dismissed Cuthbert Dube chaired board whose other members Bob Nyabinde, Doreen Sibanda, Clemence Mabaso, Bishop Trevor Manhanga, Brigadier-General (Retired) Felix Muchemwa, Major-General Gibson Mashingaidze, Farai Mutamangira, Job Jonhera and Engineer Martin Manuhwa. The Dube board was dismissed in November last year over failure to implement a turnaround strategy and approving obscene salaries for ZBC executives.
Moyo’s gaffes are not new in appointing discredited personalities to ZBC. In his earlier life in the ministry in 2000 he appointed media researcher Alum Mpofu as chief executive officer. Mpofu later escaped from the country fleeing from sodomy charges. He had been caught in a compromising position with another man at a nightclub in the capital, Harare.
Analysts have noted that many of the new board members are either Zanu PF apologists or have enjoyed long relations with the party in different forums.
Magaya is the son of late Zanla High Command member Cde Arthur Magaya, Manyeruke is a lecturer in Political Science at University of Zimbabwe and was used as a political analyst by ZBC and Zimpapers in to the July 31, 2013 general election. Jenje-Makwenda is a columnist at Zimpapers and a researcher and archivist who writes about Township Music and women musicians.
Johnson the only white person on the board has long relationship working with Zanu PF since the liberation struggle and post-independence. She has written historical texts on the liberation struggle, among them Who is Who in Zimbabwe which she co-authored with David Martin.Dlodlo is a former managing director at Longman Zimbabwe and is currently a lecturer in publishing at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo.Khumalo is a former president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU).
Moyo has also kept his flair of appointing technocrats. Mudavanhu, Matanhire-Mutisi and Kausiyo are experts in the communication industry with vast experience working in Zimbabwe and the region.ZBC is reportedly likely to miss the 2015 digitalisation deadline if government does not avail funds.
The Magaya board has its work cut out since it will have to implement the recommendation of a forensic audit report still to be done at ZBC following the booting out of the Dube board and suspension of chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere.