ZMC snubs Moyo's Impi

HARARE - In a surprising turn of events, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has become the latest body to snipe at and query the need for Information minister Jonathan Moyo’s Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (Impi) set up in December to promote high journalism standards in the country.

In a letter penned two weeks ago in response to an invitation by Impi to contribute to the four-month inquiry, ZMC chairperson Godfrey Majonga queried both the standing and function of Impi — and went on to complain that the panel was duplicating ZMC’s mandate. The ZMC letter was circulated to media houses yesterday.

Majonga likened Impi to recent efforts by some legislators to set up an ad-hoc committee to duplicate the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission’s functions and which efforts were quashed by National Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda.

“As the ZMC, we wish to point out that this commission (ZMC) is indeed a creature of the very same National Assembly whose honourable Speaker has made the ruling cited in this reply,” Majonga’s letter said.

“Our humble reading of all the relevant provisions of the law in light of the honourable Speaker’s judgment is that it creates uncertainty about whether or not it would be proper for the Zimbabwe Media Commission to appear before Impi, since according to the honourable Speaker of the National Assembly such an appearance would seem to contradict and violate the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

Majonga added that the prohibition against the duplication of functions assigned to national bodies by the Constitution was meant to compel all public officials, such as ZMC commissioners, to follow the sense of Parliament and to help enforce provisions of the Constitution.

“The Constitution goes a long way to define good governance, efficiency and principles of public administration which makes it difficult for the ZMC to accept Impi’s invitation in spite of our wish to co-operate,” he said.

This is not the first time that Impi has come under fire from various quarters.

Among others, maverick Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba recently took serious issue in Parliament with the sitting allowances afforded Impi panellists, which he claimed were too high and unjustifiable.

“My question is directed at the minister of Finance, I understand there is a panel going around the country talking to people and that they are getting $300 sitting allowance per day per person when we, the war veterans, are not getting anything  from the government to pay our children’s school fees,” Chinotimba said.

“Why is the government not paying attention to the welfare of war veterans who are entitled to receiving money from government at a time when it is paying this committee such huge amounts? What is the source of this money (sic)?

“Who does not know that there are no television signals in Tsholotsho and in my constituency Buhera? Who approved this money?” the miffed legislator asked to huge applause from other legislators.

Disgruntled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) workers also recently walked out of an Impi meeting called to discuss their plight in protest against the manner in which the Information ministry had handled their grievances.

The workers accused Moyo of being the cause of their misery after he okayed the steep slashing of workers’ salaries to 2010 levels.

Some Zanu PF bigwigs are also known to be hostile to Impi, arguing the inquiry may be another weapon in the fight for supremacy in the party’s ugly succession wars.

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