ZBC should sustain-self

HARARE - Jonathan Moyo is in synch with national sentiment when he expresses exasperation at the deplorable state of affairs at ZBC.

But he is wrong in looking for scapegoats for the decadence at the broadcaster.

Moyo sought to blame the deterioration of the situation at ZBC, including failure to pay workers, on former finance minister Tendai Biti.

“Throughout his tenure,” Moyo said, “Biti did not allocate a cent, let alone a dollar, to address the problems that the newspapers have been highlighting about the plight of workers at ZBC. These problems became particularly acute during the life of the unity government and according to the newspapers, some of the workers have not been paid for five months.”

It has become a habit of politicians to blame opponents for everything under the sun. But this propensity has bred cynicism about politics among the public.

In Britain, for instance, the governing coalition of the Conservatives (Tories) and Liberal Democrats would seize every opportunity to lampoon the previous Labour regime for every other malady, in particular the current economic woes, until the public became fed up of it.

Each time reference has been made to Labour’s past rule, grumbles, if not boos, have often swept across the audiences. In the face of crisis, people want solutions rather than political point-scoring.

The situation at ZBC constitutes a crisis, a management one, majorly. As minister in charge, Moyo has to be honest about problems besetting this institution rather than seek cheap political points.

In fact, there are not many points Moyo can score here. It did not strike most as if the previous regime or its finance minister had plenty of money to go round, with diamond revenue in particular, barely accounted for.

Even if the money was available, one would not blame Biti. How would he apportion funds from taxpayers of various political shades to an institution whose sole mission is to serve the interests of a single political party? 

With competing demands, why would ZBC, supposedly a commercial institution, be a deserving priority for State funding?

Bewailing Biti’s failure or refusal to fund ZBC, Moyo is in essence creating the impression that the broadcaster is entitled to funds from the national fiscus.

One can sympathise with workers protesting over non-payment of their deserved salaries.

But the government should not create an entitlement culture among commercial institutions it controls.

It is the same with the national disgrace that is Air Zimbabwe; supposed to be profitable but now expects to be bailed out by the government every time.

An entitlement culture does not encourage good performance; instead, institutions will underperform and expect government largesse.

ZBC is supposed to generate revenue through licensing and advertising, among other things. It should sustain itself.

In any case, there are practices at ZBC that would enrage the taxpayer.

It ought to be business orthodoxy that the salaries of management comport with the financial performance of an institution.

At ZBC, this commonsensical model has been turned upside down; top managers enjoy obscene salaries incommensurate with performance.

What Moyo is saying is Biti should have directed taxpayers’ money to reward such irresponsible and perennial underperformers. It is absurd.

Even the servile press was uncharacteristically candid lately, pointing out that some of the problems at ZBC could not, as has expediently become tradition, be attributed to so-called sanctions. But the question of ZBC commercial performance goes much deeper.

It is rests with those in control of, in Marxist thought, the “ideological superstructure” as it relates to culture industries.

Zanu PF has used ZBC, as a cultural institution, as a strategic ideological tool. However, such media control to advance a monolithic political culture is just as out of kilter as a one-party state is in contemporary politics.

The 21st generation is keen on diverse cultures and plurality of ideas, the reason for the mass migration from ZBC to satellite television stations over the years, resulting in loss of revenue.

Moyo is part of the controllers of the current ideological superstructure.

He and Zanu PF have a choice: let ZBC continue to serve their ideological purposes, promote its entitlement and unprofitable culture or transform its broadcasting philosophy so it can operate as a popular commercial entity.


Comments (9)

Lets see kuti Biti uchanyima ani mari yacho instead he must go to TB Joshua for healing his HIV.

mbada - 8 October 2013

Every where you go today in this world...all state controlled TV/radio stations are used for propaganda. To me the writer just plagiarized some paragraphs from Media related books and punched herein the ZBC........

Clemence Tashaya - 8 October 2013

mbada you still need to mature for you to be able to share your views on this platform,God must forgive you.Jonathan Moyo must not waste time shouldering the blame to the past unity government,if he is a responsible minister as he claims,can he take action to solve the problem and let these employees make smiles at their faces the blame the Biti after.We are tired Moyo with your foolidh statements which produces nothing at the end.

inyangaboy - 8 October 2013

Tashaya, book rawakaverenga rine zvanyorwa nderipi tiri tsvage. Haingaite mhosva yemonyori kuti hauna kudzidza. You miss the bigger point yekuti governments ngavasiyane ne media. And iwe mbada, tikurirewo

spraga - 8 October 2013

Wabaya zvako dede nemukanwa, and thanks Biti. Ini handidi kana centi rangu kuti riende ku Zanu PF Broadcasting Corporation.

civil servant - 8 October 2013

The issue with GVT companies is that there is no incentive for good performance, no audited results published, only forensic audits are carried out when its time for witch hunt and victimise. So the moto is "Please your master only as you will be measured on wether the master is happy or not". If the master is happy, then he can protect the thief claiming I did not see him steal.

Kakarakununa - 8 October 2013

Tashaya, I am a media student. Ko zvakaipei applying media information kana theories "from media-related books" chero ari relevant, to real and actual situations se ZBC? Kana wati pa plagiariswa wotipa evidence kuti apa neapa towonawo, otherwise zvaMarx taudzwa. I think washaya sezita rako.

media student - 8 October 2013

u suprise me for blaming biti for mismanagement at zbc, u serious gents? which parastatal is getting salaries from the fiscal purse? biti was trying to wean the parastatal from reliance from the gvt besides being abused so much by the powers that be. i suggest that those who benefitted from the ill-running, mal-adminstration and biased services from the zbc should meet the outstanding payments of those who havenot been paid!

tindo - 9 October 2013

Mr Writer, don't make assumptions that the "national sentiment" is sympathetic to the state of affairs at ZBC kkk. They had it coming

observer - 16 October 2013

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