HARARE - Jonathan Moyo, the minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services yesterday defended the appointment of Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi who is currently facing charges of terrorism, banditry and insurgency, among others.
He is also accused of being the faceless man behind the Baba Jukwa facebook character which became popular last year for revealing Zanu PF’s “dirty secrets.”
Moyo was responding to a question by Zanu PF Makonde Member of Parliament, Kindness Paradza who asked whether he had been surprised by the 28-year-old’s appointment to such a high post.
“I am happy with appointments of young people to high posts and we want to see more of them going up. I don’t want to talk about the Kudzayi matter as it is before the courts,” said Moyo.
The minister had been summoned by the parliamentary portfolio committee on Media chaired by Zanu PF MP William Dhewa, where legislators also demanded to know who was funding the Independent Media Panel of Inquiry (Impi) and who had appointed members of the panel.
Moyo said it was necessary to set up Impi to end media polarisation which has been affecting the country for the past 15 years.
“It is a fact that we have a lot of political differences which are being reflected in the media. We hope that one of the issues that Impi will address is about polarisation.
“Some people want to link Impi to my vernacular language of war which is not correct. We want to correct all the ills in the media through Impi by gathering the views of the public. Let’s try to find each other despite differences caused by politics,” Moyo said.
He added that; “This is one of stages towards re–alignment of the media laws with the new constitution.”
James Maridadi MDC MP for Mabvuku asked where the money to fund Impi came from and how much the panellists were earning during outreach programmes.
Moyo told the legislators it was funded by treasury to the tune of $1,6 million with each member getting $300 allowances per sitting.
He told legislators that he appointed the panel which had concluded its work.
Moyo said the panel would be travelling to South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya to learn from their experiences before producing their report.
Yesterday’s meeting comes after legislators on Tuesday slammed Impi for wasting tax payers’ money, saying they are embarking on a non-essential programme which does not add value to the development of the nation.
Zanu PF MP, Joseph Chinotimba raised the matter in Parliament during question time querying the logic behind Impi.
Impi was launched in April to “enquire into, assess and determine the policy, legal, technological, business, human resource and institutional adequacy and readiness in the information sector.”
The panel is made up of editors from the public and private media, marketing and advertising representatives, information and communication technology experts, civil society members and other professionals.
The panel has been travelling around the country, collecting information on media issues by holding public hearings.