Scoop! - Zimbabwe Media Commission Names Released - Massive Victory For Tsvangirai

Man of the moment: Morgan Tsvangirai has now got massive concessions from Mugabe on the Zimbabwe Media Commission. The new Commissioners, announced here for the first time are largely MDC. Of course, it's quid pro quo for Shamu's appointments, but still a victory for Tsvangirai all the same

Harare, Zimbabwe, 05 October 2009

Impeccable sources have just confirmed that Morgan Tsvangirai has won a massive victory during his meeting with Robert "The Solution" Mugabe today at State House in Harare.

Mugabe has finally agreed to the appointment of the Zimbabwe Media Commission, which replaces the body that was headed by Tafataona Mahoso, who is now Chairman of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe will announce the Chairman of the new Zimbabwe Media Commission, which will licence newspapers, later on, but the full list of Commissioners agreed between Mugabe and Tsvangirai today is as follows:

  • Godfrey Majonga (former ZBC newsreader)
  • Matthew Takaona, former President of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and an ardent supporter of Morgan Tsvangirai
  • Henry Muradzikwa, who is also in the Tsvangirai camp
  • Chris Mutsvangwa of ZANU PF, a former ambassador to China
  • Chris Mhike
  • Hussain Sibanda
  • A Mrs Nyati, whose first name I could not immediately establish and
  • Millicent Mombeshora, a senior official at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
What these appointments mean is that Tsvangirai has managed to get 5 out of the 8 appointed commissioners. The only obvious ZANU PF nominees to this board are Chris Mutsvangwa and Millicent Mombeshora. The rest are Tsvangirai loyalists.

There are also reports that Mugabe denied today that he authorised the appointments of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe board as well as the other Boards of Directors announced by Webster Shamu.

But this is information that should be taken with a pinch of salt. My bet is that those appointment stand.

I will explain just now.

However, the appointment of the Zimbabwe Media Commission, and especially one packed with opposition sympathisers, is a massive win for Morgan Tsvangirai as well as for the print media in the country.

Almost certainly, the Daily News, Newsday and all the other papers who have been waiting to start operations will now start doing business by the end of this month if they have the financial resources needed.

Mugabe is not so concerned about the print media, which tends to be concentrated in the urban areas, which are now opposition stronghold anyway. His tactic for dealing with them is like what he used to do with the Daily News.

That popular paper was essentially banned in the rural areas, Mugabe's stronghold. Anyone seen carrying a copy of the daily news was subject to summary punishment by ZANU PF activists and thugs in the rural areas.

This was Mugabe ensured that no adverse news or opposition propaganda reached the eyes and ears of his constituency, who are treated like mushrooms - kept in the dark and fed dirt.

On the broadcasting front, it is another matter entirely.

It is very unlikely, nay, impossible, that Mugabe will give concessions on this front, which is why I say the appointments of Mahoso and company will stay.

There is no way Mugabe will allow the licensing of independent radio and television stations in Zimbabwe, especially after his top generals said a few days ago that those running independent radio station from abroad now are committing high treason.

But all in all, this is a good day indeed for the print media.


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