In a government gazette published on February 19, Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu said the commissioners would serve a five-year term, which began on February 11.
“His Excellency the President, in terms of Section 100N of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, is pleased to appoint with immediate effect for a term of five years the following members of the Zimbabwe Media Commission from a list of nominees submitted by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders of Parliament with effect from the 11th of February, 2010,” reads the gazette.
The gazette confirmed the nine names that were announced in December 2009, where Godfrey Majonga is the chairperson of the commission, deputised by Nqobile Nyathi. The committee members, in the order of their publication in the gazette, are: Miriam Madziwa, Henry Muradzikwa, Chris Mutsvangwa, Mathew Takaona, Chris Mhike and Millicent Mombeshora.
The ZMC is a statutory body created under the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which led to the formation of an inclusive between Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations.
During a recent discussion in Harare, journalists expressed reservations about the new commission. They said the commissioners are basically political appointees who would concentrate on the interests of those who appointed them, instead of meeting the expectations of the country’s media fraternity.
Award winning investigative journalist and spokesperson of the Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights, Dumisani Muleya said they would watch the commission closely to ensure that it works towards fulfilling the mandate for which it was set.
“We will be watching closely the work of these commissioners. They are likely to be hamstrung by party politics that led to their creation,” said Muleya.
There are high expectations among Zimbabwean media professionals over the new ZMC, which has a mammoth task of rebuilding the country’s battered media industry, which almost collapsed under Tafataona Mahoso’s abolished Media and Information Commission.
The government is however yet to gazette the other three commissions created under the GPA: the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Anti Corruption Commission. Members of these commissions have already been identified.