HARARE - Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday savaged commercial radio station ZiFM Stereo after the station, owned by Information Communication Techonology minister Supa Mandiwanzira, pulled out of an interview that it had granted him to discuss a government scholarship programme.
The irate Moyo suggested that political machinations were behind the station’s last-minute decision to decline to host him after it aired a controversial interview with hawkish Information permanent secretary George Charamba last week in which the presidential spokesperson roundly panned Moyo and other perceived opponents of embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
But ZiFM vehemently denied claims that it had banned Moyo from its station, as well as suggestions that it had been pressured by Charamba to deny him the interview opportunity, stating that the cancellation of the planned interview was due to a clash of schedules.
The ZiFM furore comes as the ruling Zanu PF’s factional and succession wars are getting nastier by the day, amid growing frustration by the party’s Young Turks known as the Generation 40 group — who are opposed to Mnangagwa — that they are being blacked out by State media and other mass media outlets linked to senior party officials.
“@ZiFMStereo plz have the decency of at least trying to sound professional in your handling of a clearly difficult political situation!”
“Truth is you ‘postponed’ the STEM program tonight under pressure from a successionist who feared the program would stray into politics!”
“Even as @ZiFMStereo knew the program was on STEM you were forced to conclude there was an elephant in the studio that you can’t handle!”
“You then decided to ‘postpone’ the program falsely citing a clash of schedules while knowing that this is not the true reason at all!
“It would have been true & professional for @ZiFMStereo to say it is unable to broadcast the program due to reasons beyond its control!” Moyo tweeted angrily yesterday.
“What is unprofessional & unacceptable is @ZiFMStereo broadcasting a defamatory interview with Charamba without giving me a right of reply!”
“When I was Minister of Information in 2015, I reprimanded @ZiFMStereo for suspending a presenter on account of a Midlands politician!
“It’s a pity @ZiFMStereo didn’t learn anything professional or useful from that ugly incident. I feel for your audiences & advertisers!” Moyo added.
Some Zanu PF insiders claimed yesterday that Mandiwanzira was allegedly a key member of the Mnangagwa faction, saying that Charamba’s interview with the radio station had been a “well-planned hatchet job” on the G40.
Efforts to get a comment from Mandiwanzira last night were not successful.