New editor for government mouthpiece

The Zimbabwean information minister is due to name a new editor for the government's Bulawayo mouthpiece.

Harare – Zimbabwe's new information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, is set to ring the changes at the state-run Chronicle newspaper, which is based in Bulawayo. It is the minister's first major shake-up of the state propaganda apparatus since taking over.

Chronicle editor Makuwerere Bwititi is set to be shipped back to the Manica Post in Mutare next Monday, with Sunday News editor Brezhnev Malaba taking over his job.

Paul Mambo, currently editor of Manica Post, will take over at the Sunday News, authoritative sources told New Zimbabwe.com Tuesday.

The Zimbabwe Newspapers Group flagship daily, the Herald, and the Sunday Mail, headed by Pikirayi Deketeke and William Chikoto respectively, have been left untouched.

The new appointments take effect on Monday, May 28.

Ndlovu, who took over from Tichaona Jokonya who died last year, toured the Sunday News and Chronicle offices last week. During the visit, Mlambo was seen taking a particular interest at the state of the Sunday News which has been hit by a spate of resignations, leaving only two junior reporters.

The Sunday News lost Orirando Manuwere, Mernat Mafirakureva and Nqobile Bhebhe to remain with Reason Mpofu (news) and Bright Madera (business) as the only full time reporters. Phineas Mukwazo is the acting sports editor after the departure of Phathisani Moyo to Botswana. The rest are students.

The Chronicle shake-up means the paper will have its first ever editor from the Matabeleland region, where the paper is mostly distributed.

Sinqobile Ndlovu, the deputy editor of the vernacular Umthunywa has also quit for Botswana and her post has been frozen.

Bankrupt millionaires

At the Chronicle, Kholwani Nyathi has left to join the Standard, citing poor pay and favouritism.

Senior reporters earn a basic monthly salary of Z$1.2 million (US$40), a housing allowance of just Z$10 000 and a transport allowance of Z$30 000, which is enough for just a day.

While the axe has always been looming on Bwititi, his departure is set to leave some of his most trusted lieutenants in the cold.

Chronicle sources say he had developed a ‘spying operation', with Health Editor Arnold Mutemi, who in-turn recruited chief crime reporter Owen Gagare to keep track of reporters' business in the newsroom.

Gagare is already in trouble with Ndlovu who has accused him of unprofessional coverage of the Zanu PF Bulawayo province elections and could face the axe.

Deputy News Editor Paul Nkala, Health Reporter Amanda Bango, Court Reporter Richard Muponde and Senior Business Reporter Stanley James were summoned to various hearings, at the behest of Mutemi, but he failed to get them fired from the paper, sources said.

Since Mutemi's arrival, the Health Desk had almost collapsed as he would not attend morning and afternoon editorial conferences and only started doing so on Monday after reports that his boss was to leave the organisation.
Last week, Mutemi refused to cover Professor Jonathan Moyo's ongoing defamation case at the High Court, claiming that he was standing in the for the editor. He assigned Nkala who duly refused.

Deputy Trends Editor Limukani Ncube is interested in the Chronicle sports editor's position currently held by Lovemore Dube, who is on leave.


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