The great betrayal

The bouncing back of Tafataona Mahoso to the newly created Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has come as a shock to the journalistic fraternity. The persecution that journalists suffered at the hands of this man is still fresh in their minds. It is not clear how Mahoso got the job but it would be very interesting to know who else was interviewed for this position and whether this was the best the ZMC could get from the whole of Zimbabwe.

The culture of recycling same old tired faces is known to be associated with Zanu (PF), which over the years has brought back to cabinet the same old people. It is the one which is known to reward unprofessionalism and party praise singing. It is therefore not easy to see the hand of the party in this appointment.

For a country that is going through a transitional justice process, is it not grossly unfair to ask journalists whose careers were destroyed by Mahoso, to face this man again? The ZMC has allayed fears of journalists by saying Mahoso is just a chief executive officer who will not have influence on policy decision. This is, however, debatable. There is no CEO who does not wield some form of power. Some CEOs or secretariats are known to be too powerful for their boards.

Mahosos appointment is meant to instil fear in journalists, particularly those who have been brutalised by the oppressive AIPPA. Its like taking a CV for a job to an abusive employer who has fired you in the past. There can never be job security in such a situation. Similarly, Mahoso may grant accreditation to the journalists who were persecuted by him through his policies, but there is no guarantee for their security because the same law he used still stands.

His return shows lack of sensitivity to the plight of journalists. While all may seem rosy now it will be a different story come election time. The safety of many journalists will be at stake given that Zanu (PF) wants to regain its power at all cost. Zanu (PF) has clearly shown it is firmly in charge and that it can do what it pleases. It is then hard to see how the ZMC is going to save journalists in times of trouble when their CEO is a known Zanu (PF) loyalist and propagandist, who probably have direct communication with President Robert Mugabe.

Mahosos come back to the new media commission is the greatest betrayal by the inclusive government. It goes to show how other leaders in the inclusive government are being overshadowed. His appointment should have been denied outright.

He is better off as a retired pensioner at some farm or plot, possibly writing Mugabes memoirs or Zanu (PF) propaganda for use in the partys newspapers.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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