Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Minister Mpofu paper falls on hard times

TRANSPORT minister Obert Mpofu’s daily newspaper The Zimbabwe Mail has been kicked out of rented offices in central Harare after months of failing to pay rentals, Newzimbabwe.com has learnt.

The paper was operating from NICOZ building corner Samora Machel Avenue and Park Street.

Reports said management had to beg for reporters to remain at the property until the end of January while the rest of the staff members are now working from Msasa industrial area.

Journalists from the daily said the Minister also owes them three month salaries as the newspaper is struggling to attract readership and advertisers in the shrinking economy.
Minister Mpofu paper falls on hard times
The development comes barely two weeks after Mpofu handed back his banking licence to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe rendering about 250 workers at the Allied Bank jobless.

Employees told Newzimbabwe.com that all is not well at the company with Mpofu said to be employing divide and rule tactics to maintain his control.

Mpofu is also said to disdain most of his journalists whom he accuses of incompetence and indolence.

However the minister, who did his journalism training in India before working in Zambia during the liberation war era, is not known to have been a notable scribe either.

His notable contribution to journalism was as a secret informant supplying information to the then Chronicle editor Geoff Nyarota during the 1980s so-called Willowgate Scandal.

Sources said so bad is the situation at the mail that two reporters resigned Wednesday due to a number of problems among them divide and rule tactics which have seen some scribes being paid secretly while others went without wages.

“We have been told that other media houses are also struggling so we are not sure if we will be back dated on our outstanding salaries”.

Sources also said previous attempts to form a workers committee to fight for their rights were thwarted by salaries clerk and acting human resources manager Sicelukwazi Khumalo who also wanted to be part of the process.

With only one year on the streets The Zimbabwe Mail is almost on the verge of collapse just like most media houses in Zimbabwe who are failing to pay their workers on time.

The Zimbabwe Mail was launched late 2013 and became the second daily to be launched that same year after AMH launched its southern region daily the Southern Eye.

AMH and the weekly The Zimbabwean have since moved from central Harare to the industrial areas, a move meant to cut rental costs.

Revenue decline in poor sales and adverts has affected most media houses.

Khumalo’s phone went unanswered for most of Wednesday. News Zimbabwe
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