HARARE – Jonathan Moyo, the Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister, yesterday came face-to-face with obsolete broadcasting equipment used by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) at its Mbare and Pockets Hill studios.
Moyo, who has toured almost all media houses, said his mission was to get an appreciation of the operations of the national broadcaster in light of the challenges that it is currently faced with.
ZBC, which is still using analogue equipment in a digital age, has over the years suffered a critical staff shortage with frustrated skilled personnel resigning, thereby crippling the smooth flow of broadcasts.
“I hope you are not going to be reminding me a lot of my previous sins,” Moyo chuckled in an address to the broadcaster’s entire management.
“We have come here essentially to listen to what you have to say and see for ourselves so we can appreciate what is on the ground.”
He had been reminded that some of the changes at the broadcaster had been put in place by him when he first became Information minister in 2000.
The minister, who was in the company of his deputy Supa Mandiwanzira, noted media reports that senior management at ZBC cared very little about the welfare of workers and that they were corrupt.
He urged ZBC chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere to take the opportunity to explain himself and that the national broadcaster had a bloated management structure.
“We would also want to hear about the material written in the media in your name but if this is the entire management here, then it is very lean, contrary to media reports,” Moyo said.
Moyo was taken through the obsolete equipment, including the archaic recording studios and the record library which is still using analogue.
The minister recommended that the old perimeter fence around Mbare Studios be discarded and replaced with a modern precast wall to move with times.
Moyo’s ZBC visit comes at a time workers at the troubled state broadcaster are highly agitated after going for close to seven months without being paid their salaries.
With reports that their bosses are earning around $20 000 a month each while driving top-of-the-range vehicles and the State broadcaster relying on overdrafts to finance its soaring wage bill driven mostly by the excessive and unsustainable perks for top management, hopes are high that Moyo’s visit will help in addressing their plight.