HARARE – Supa Mandiwanzira, deputy minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, signed off at ZiFM yesterday with an emotional farewell filled with tributes from his famous staff, which left them close to tears.
The London City University graduate and former Al Jazeera English Zimbabwe correspondent, has joined President Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet as a deputy minister.
AB Communications, the media company that owns ZiFM stereo and television production company Mighty Movies, has accepted the move by Mandiwanzira to step down as chief executive officer.
Mandiwanzira, who is being replaced by Susan Makore, said he initially thought his stint in politics would confine him to his Nyanga constituency but was pleasantly surprised after Mugabe named him a deputy minister.
“I did not think I would be called upon,” Mandiwanzira said at a celebrity-filled send-off at ZiFM yesterday. “I was very humbled by the appointment (as deputy minister). I am sure in the considerations of my CV; ZiFM was regarded as one of my achievements. I did not do it alone.”
The deputy minister said he was excited to be working with Jonathan Moyo, his boss.
“I am happy to be working with Professor Moyo for two things. Minister Moyo is a hardworking man and I would be able to become a hard worker and he is an experienced professor from teaching at university level, he is sharp and smart and I would be able to learn from him,” he said.
As he bid farewell to staff at his ZiFM stereo, the journalist-cum-politician recalled the hard times when he was setting up the radio station, when his staff went for four months without pay.
“I am so humbled that I had a team despite challenges of going for almost four months without salary. They did not complain,” Mandiwanzira said. “We want people in the country who will not complain that we don’t have cooking oil on the shelves so Zanu PF must go. People should be resilient.”
After being elected Zanu PF legislator, Mandiwanzira stepped down from ZiFM, a radio station he founded.
With his hands now full, the businessman said he stumbled into politics at the nudging of senior party officials who believed in his mettle.
Mandiwanzira said the 75 percent local content requirement was now an inescapable reality for broadcasters, starting with ZiFM.
Pomp and fanfare characterised the brief send-off ceremony, with emotions high as former employees tried to outshine each other in lavishing praises at their ex-boss.
One lady recited a poem exalting the ex-broadcaster as a “super boss.”
Patience Musa, an employee at the station, was not to be outdone, singing a swan song titled ‘Prayer’.