Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation fires Happison Muchechetere.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has, with immediate effect, dismissed suspended chief executive Happison Muchechetere, general manager-finance Elliot Kasu, acting radio head Allan Chiweshe and finance head Ralph Nyambudzi.

This comes as Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited yesterday terminated contracts of 109 employees, including journalists, and gave them three months’ notice in line with the recent Supreme Court ruling.

Chiweshe was suspended last November together with general manager News and Current Affairs Tazzen Mandizvidza on allegations of misconduct and prejudicing the corporation of over $7 million. Mandizvidza has since been reinstated following his option to cooperate with investigations.
Happison Muchechetere
Happison Muchechetere
Kasu and Nyambudzi were suspended together with Muchechetere early last year on allegations of costing the national broadcaster millions of dollars.

ZBC board chairperson Father Gibson Munyoro said Muchechetere and Kasu were sacked for prejudicing the corporation because of their unethical and destructive behaviour.

He said the other two managers — Chiweshe and Nyambudzi — had their contracts terminated on three months’ notice.

“Hearings involving the accused were concluded and on the basis of the findings, ZBC has decided to fire chief executive Happison Muchechetere and general manager-finance Elliot Kasu on the basis of their unethical and destructive conduct while at ZBC in the past few years,” said Fr Munyoro.

“Their actions, decisions and behaviour contributed immensely to the destruction of the national broadcaster to a desperate financial depression it’s currently suffering.”

Fr Munyoro said the cleansing exercise was a means of stemming the decay at the national broadcaster.

“The ZBC board is cleaning up all destructive elements within the corporation and opening a new page, on which a new story of ZBC shall be written. We believe it’s possible for a parastatal to be run on the basis of good moral values, the principles of good governance and professional and effective business strategies. This is what we want ZBC to be, and it’s indeed becoming that,” said Fr Munyoro.

He said the exercise was meant to renew the morale and business-oriented face of the broadcaster as it gears itself for the digitisation exercise.

“As we migrate into the digital era, we want to ensure that ZBC is cleansed of all regressive and destructive elements, all corruption and unethical attitudes that obstruct the exclusive focus on digital broadcasting in competition with new arrivals in the broadcasting playfield.

“We want to engage new minds that ensure the development and adoption of an effective business strategy for the corporation.”

The senior management executives were also accused of allegedly awarding themselves hefty salaries at a time when the troubled national broadcaster’s employees went for more than six months without salaries.

Other allegations were that Muchechetere and his top management entered into an agreement with China National Instruments Imports and Exports Corporation (Instrimpex) for the purchase of an Outside Broadcasting (OB) van worth $100,000, whose price was inflated to $1,050,000 with the connivance of some Instrimpex officials.

After the suspensions, ZBC instituted disciplinary proceedings against Muchechetere, Kasu, Mandizvidza, Chiweshe and Nyambudzi.

A hearing tribunal chaired by retired judge Justice James de Vitte was set up which led to the recall of Mandizvidza after he opted to cooperate with investigations.

Zimpapers’ letters of termination signed by respective general managers of the firm’s branches indicated that the termination was with immediate effect.

“This letter serves to inform you that Zimpapers (1980) Limited has decided to terminate your employment contract on notice,” reads the letter.

“The Group has passed a decision to exercise its right under common law which allows either party to terminate the employment contract on notice.

“In accordance with the provisions of Section 12 (4) of the Labour Act, we hereby give you three (3) months’ notice to terminate your contract of employment.

“The notice shall start to run on delivery of this letter, or to the domicilium that you chose under your employment contract or such other address notified to Human Resources Department at your Branch by you in writing.

“Notwithstanding the effective date of the termination, you are hereby directed not to report for work with immediate effect (that is, on your receipt of this termination letter).”

The firm said in the letter that it was going to pay cash in lieu of notice over a three months period.

Accordingly, the amount due to you is as follows:-

(i) 3 months’ salary in lieu of notice paid over three (3) months from August 2015 to October 2015.

(ii) Payment of seven (7) days worked for the month of August 2015.

(iii) Cash in lieu of accrued leave, if any would be paid on the last month of instalment — October 2015 due to cash flow constraints.

(iv) Pension payouts will also be processed according to the scheme.

Those affected were told to immediately hand over any company assets in their possession upon receipt of the termination letters.

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