HARARE - The Herald’s senior assistant editor, George Chisoko, has been suspended for publishing a business story in the State-controlled daily highlighting Zimbabwe’s dying economy.
In the unusually candid story, the paper highlighted what economists and millions of ordinary Zimbabweans talk about every day, and which private newspapers such as the Daily News routinely publish — that the Zimbabwean economy is now on its knees and on the verge of total collapse.
The story in question was aptly headlined: Feb Inflation points to Dying Economy.
The editor of The Herald, Caesar Zvayi, confirmed the suspension to the Daily News yesterday, but claimed that the story was “false and alarmist”.
“George Chisoko was suspended on Tuesday for not exercising the required judgment in passing a poor story under a false and alarmist headline,” Zvayi said.
However, the story correctly observed that the country’s continuing deflation was a sign that Zimbabwe’s economy was now in full-fledged recession, with the trend expected to continue for the better part of the year.
Zvayi said Chisoko had been placed on a two-week suspension and would resume duties on April 4.
Happiness Zengeni, the business editor who originated the story and the deputy chief sub editor who handled the story, received written reprimands.
Sources at the government daily said authorities were “livid when this obvious truth” was published in the newspaper.
“The crisis we have is that no one is sure what to write and what not to write about events in Zimbabwe as it seems that the authorities prefer fiction to truth.
“It is very sad that Sox (George) has been hauled over the carpet for okaying a clearly accurate story,” one of the sources said.