Information Minister summoned to explain defiance on media reforms

The committee charged with overseeing reforms agreed to by the coalition government has reportedly summoned Information Minister Webster Shamu to account for his refusal to implement media reforms, as ordered by the principals.


It is not clear when Shamu is due to face the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), but as of Friday he has three days left until the deadline for the reforms, as announced by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently.

The Prime Minister told reporters that it had been agreed at a meeting of the principals that Shamu had three weeks to reconstitute the boards of the Broadcasting Authority, Mass Media Trust and ZBC.

These boards were declared unconstitutional as they were appointed unilaterally and packed with ZANU PF officials loyal to Robert Mugabe. The three political parties allegedly agreed they were to be reformed before holding elections.

Tsvangirai has said the Information Minister was given a March 12th deadline, which is next Monday, but so far there is no word or sign that Shamu intends to comply with the order. This is the second time he has ignored these instructions from the principals.

Political commentator Lameck Mahachi dismissed JOMIC’s gesture as a waste of time, saying nothing will change, whether Shamu shows up or not.

“I don’t think he will show up. But if he does nothing will happen,” Mahachi explained.

He said JOMIC has members from all parties, but ZANU PF takes advantage of the other two parties as they control key institutions. He said the strategy is that the police arrest you, the judiciary deny you bail and their media mouthpiece puts a spin on the story.

SW Radio Africa has published a countdown to Shamu’s deadline from the beginning, and it appears JOMIC may have noticed. – SW Radio Africa News

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