Was Trevor Ncube used by Jonathan Moyo to tarnish Financial Gazette?


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Former news editor of the Financial Gazette Nelson Banya said former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo might have used The Independent to tarnish the image of the Financial Gazette by claiming that it was partially owned by the Central Intelligence Organisation because he was close friends with the publisher Trevor Ncube.

Banya said there was no truth to the stories in The Independent as the owner was central bank governor Gideon Gono who held 70 percent of the stake.

According to a cable released by Wikileaks, Banya speculated that The Independent’s attack on the Financial Gazettte might have been on behalf of Jonathan Moyo because he felt that the paper was “not sufficiently supportive of his new political party, the United People’ s Movement” .

At the time the Financial Gazette had been ordered by the Media Information Commission to retract a story in which it had claimed that the commission had been pressurised by the Central Intelligence Organisation to refuse a licence to the Daily News.

The paper had been given seven days to retract the story but refused to do so.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 05HARARE1675, MIC CENSURE OF FINGAZ POLITICALLY-MOTIVATED

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

05HARARE1675

2005-12-12 14:32

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001675

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/12/2015

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ECON ZI

SUBJECT: MIC CENSURE OF FINGAZ POLITICALLY-MOTIVATED

 

REF: A. HARARE 1345

B. HARARE 988 AND PREVIOUS

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) On December 1, the Media and Information Commission

(MIC) gave the Financial Gazette newspaper seven days to

retract an article the paper had published or face charges

under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

(AIPPA). The article accused the Central Intelligence

Organization (CIO) of pressuring the MIC to refuse a license

to the closed independent daily newspaper The Daily News

(TDN). The Financial Gazette is standing by the story and

has refused to publish a retraction. Its news editor

speculated the MIC,s ultimatum was the result of ZANU-PF

infighting and was directed at Reserve Bank Governor Gideon

Gono, the paper,s majority owner. End Summary.

 

——————————

MIC Censures Financial Gazette

——————————

 

2. (U) On December 1, the Financial Gazette, a

semi-independent weekly, whose majority shareholder is

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, published a story claiming

that the MIC had voted in June to grant a license to The

Daily News, because there was no legal basis for denying it.

TDN had been closed by the government in 2003 but had won a

court judgment requiring the MIC to consider a fresh

application (ref B). According to the news report, the CIO

had then pressured MIC commissioners to reverse the decision.

The source for the story, former commissioner Jonathan

Maphenduka, said he had resigned in protest after the denial

of the license was announced.

 

3. (U) On December 2, MIC commissioner Tafataona Mahoso

announced that the Commission was censuring the Financial

Gazette and gave the paper seven days to agree to retract the

story and allow the MIC to publish a rebuttal in the paper.

He threatened the paper with charges under AIPPA if it failed

to respond. In his statement, Mahoso said the story had

sought to discredit a quasi-judicial body, which he claimed

was a violation of the media law.

 

————————————-

MIC Editor–No Retraction Forthcoming

————————————-

 

4. (C) On December 8, the day before the ultimatum was to

expire, Financial Gazette news editor Nelson Banya told

Embassy staff that the paper stood by the story and had no

intention of publishing a retraction. The paper,s lawyer

had determined that there was absolutely no violation of law

and had communicated the paper,s decision to the MIC. Banya

said Mahoso,s ultimatum was a bluff and he was interested in

seeing how Mahoso handled the embarrassment of dealing with

the paper,s refusal to retract. (Comment: As of December

12, the MIC had taken no further action against the paper.

However, the Commission has in the past pushed forward with

prosecutions that appear to have no legal merit and may yet

follow through on its ultimatum.)

 

——————————————-

MIC Attack Due to Gono Rivalry with Mujurus

——————————————-

 

5. (C) Banya said the more important reason for the MIC

ultimatum was internal ZANU-PF politics. Banya claimed that

the ruling party faction, led by Vice President Joyce Mujuru

and her husband, retired General Solomon Mujuru, felt

threatened by Gono, whom it saw as a potential rival for the

post-Mugabe succession. Gono owned a majority share of the

paper, which had published several exposes of the Mujurus and

their supporters, business dealings. The Mujurus viewed

Gono,s ownership of the paper and its attacks on them as

proof of his political aspirations. Banya said Gono owned

about 70 percent of the paper. However, he did not directly

influence its content and Banya said that, as news editor, he

felt no pressure to cut stories or slant them any particular

way. That said, he admitted the paper,s financial reporting

avoided criticism of Gono and the RBZ,s monetary policies.

 

6. (C) Banya added that Mahoso had taken the Financial

Gazette story as a personal attack on himself. Mahoso had

been his teacher in college and had been a committed

socialist and an idealist. However, Mahoso had now become

self-important, driving around in a brand-new sport utility

vehicle and using police to guard his home, and this had made

it easy for the Mujurus to use him to attack Gono.

 

————————————-

Moyo Also After the Financial Gazette

————————————-

7. (C) Banya added that, to his knowledge, there was no truth

to the stories in the weekly newspaper The Independent,

claiming that the Financial Gazette was partially owned by

the CIO. The Independent,s publisher, Trevor Ncube, was a

good friend of former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, and

Banya speculated that the paper,s attack on the Financial

Gazette was on behalf of Moyo, who felt that the Financial

Gazette was not sufficiently supportive of his new political

party, the United People,s Movement (UPM).

 

——————————

Information Ministry Rivalries

——————————

 

8. (C) Banya offered several insights into the GOZ,s

propaganda machine. He said Information Minister Tichaona

Jokonya was very ill and tired and had not wanted the

position but had been brought back from New York (where he

had been UN Ambassador) at the Mujurus, behest. George

Charamba, the Permanent Secretary at the ministry was really

running the ministry. However, Charamba was not a Mujuru

supporter. Banya said Deputy Information Minister Bright

Matonga was corrupt and was attempting to collect as many

farms and investments as he could while in office.

 

9. (C) ZANU-PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira, who had promoted

Matonga into the job, was Charamba,s real rival for control

of the machine. Shamuyarira wanted to reorganize the

ministry, weed out former supporters of Jonathan Moyo, and

establish for himself the kind of power Moyo had gained

through control of the state media. Banya said, however,

that regardless of the personalities involved the

government,s attempts to curb the media were ultimately

futile. He claimed that most of the news on the Internet was

written by reporters from the state media and even police

officers. With insiders writing news reports, eventually all

the government,s misdeeds would and did come out.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

10. (C) Banya,s description of a Gono-Mujuru rivalry

contradicts reports from other sources connecting Gono with

the Mujuru faction. In the hothouse atmosphere that ZANU-PF

is becoming, both could be correct. Our sense is that

intra-party alliances are shifting constantly as the major

players try to position themselves for political power in the

post-Mugabe era. Meanwhile, Gono, the Mujurus and the other

ZANU-PF players, nervous about whether ZANU-PF will be able

to retain power at all, are competing to steal as much as

they can while still in power.

DELL

(35 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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