Former Minister of Information Professor Jonathan Moyo says government does not have any shareholding in the Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) a company that publishes The Herald, The Chronicle, Sunday News and the Sunday Mail.

Government has always had a big say in the running of Zimpapers including the appointment of the Board, Editors and the editorial policy.  

Moyo was responding to Herald Deputy Editor Tichaona Zindoga who had said, “AU summit and EU sanctions meetings are past and there’s a corresponding decrease in anti-Zimbabwe noise. Who doubts, then, that there was an orchestrated campaign with leading lights like Prof Jonathan Moyo now looking elsewhere, including soccer?”

Prof. Moyo then warned Zindoga that he will be sued.

“Your event-based communication strategy is myopic. You have an obligation to show maturity as someone editing a national newspaper owned by a company registered at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange whose shareholders do not include the government or ZanuPF. You’ll be dragged to court

“Since you are guided by events, keep checking. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Meanwhile the fact that you are editing a national newspaper registered at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange whose shareholders don’t include government or ZanuPF is not a joke. It’s a public interest issue.”

Prof. Moyo further said the ownership of Zimapapers has serious legal implications that have remained unexamined since 1980. “It’s one of the greatest frauds of the republic.” He said.

Writing in 2017 veteran journalist Goefrey Nyarota explained how government became associated with Zimpapers. Find an except from his article below:

In 1981, the President Robert Mugabe-led government acquired the majority of shares in Zimpapers, the company that owned all major newspapers in the country. The government then established the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust (ZMMT). The trust had responsibility over the Zimpapers group, booksellers — Kingstons, the Zimbabwe Information Services, as well as the national news agency, Ziana.

The ZMMT’s role, as stated by Shamuyarira was to promote, through an independent board of non-government individuals, the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans in the national media. Instead of owning and controlling the Press, government had opted for the creation of a trust to handle the Press on behalf of the citizens of Zimbabwe.

All that was to change at the turn of the century! ZMMT had, in fact, thereafter been subjected to a pattern of relentless attempts by government to control and influence the press. But on December 7, 2000, the weekly Standard newspaper reported that the ZMMT had effectively been dissolved.

The newspaper reported that the ZMMT board, which was chaired by lawyer Honour Mkushi, had been disbanded. The decision to disband had been adopted after Mkushi reportedly held a meeting with Moyo, the new Information and Publicity minister.

The demise of the ZMMT effectively became the catalyst in the ascendancy of Charamba and Moyo to unprecedented and unchallenged power in the State-owned media empire. While technically the ZMMT still owns the government’s newspapers, in reality the trust no longer exists.

Charamba and Moyo moved in to usurp its functions, initially as strategic allies, but increasingly as avowed enemies.byo24