Shamu, Charamba bunk meeting with Tsvangirai

HARARE - Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu and his secretary George Charamba have defied a Principal’s directive to meet Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and discuss the state of the media in Zimbabwe.

A meeting between the PM and Shamu, Charamba and Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) officials that was scheduled for yesterday failed to take off as the two officials failed to pitch up.

Tsvangirai’s top aide, Alex Magaisa said the premier was determined to have a roundtable discussion with the two officials to discuss the state of the media.

Shamu, however, said he was not aware of the meeting.

“The premier was given a mandate by the Principals to engage commissions,” Magaisa said. “The meeting between the premier and Shamu and Charamba and ZMC was supposed to take place today (yesterday) but the two did not turn up.”

But Shamu professed ignorance about the meeting.

“I don’t know about any meeting,” the minister told the Daily News yesterday. “Talk to them, where do I come in? I have my own ministry separate from the prime minister. I don’t do their programmes, instead they carry their own programmes and I have mine. I have my own ministry.”

Repeated efforts to speak to Charamba yesterday were fruitless.

Magaisa said the meeting was expected to centre on media reforms, which the PM alleges has been stonewalled by the two officials.

“One of the key issues that need to be implemented is media reforms,” Magaisa said. “So far the State media has been rabid against the PM. In the last four years none of the State media has interviewed the prime minister.”

Sadc guarantors of the unity government last Tuesday insisted on media reforms before the country stages fresh elections.

Between December and January, Tsvangirai successfully met with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the body that is in charge of conducting elections, as well as Patrick Chinamasa, minister of Justice and Legal Affairs and the Registrar of voters Tobaiwa Mudede.

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