First Lady Grace Mugabe on Saturday tore into President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, accusing him of undermining ministers and there are very few tears for the government bureaucrat.
Charamba has seen himself acting like a media overlord over the years, where he wants to dictate to the media how to report on some issues.
The Information ministry secretary has also literally overseen the entrenching of the State media as a partisan force rather than a public service good, which all Zimbabweans have access to, rather than it belonging to one political clique.
While Grace may have upbraided Charamba for her selfish reasons, he deserved his comeuppance.
State media has, instead of reporting on Zimbabwe and being accessible to everyone, infamously been a tool entrenching Zanu PF’s hegemony and a cog in the party’s factional fights.
Now that Grace has publicly reprimanded Charamba, it would not be surprising to see the State media turning against him and he would regret the number of times he has been called to reform the public media and was obstinate about it.
As the de facto head of public media, Charamba should have seen to it that the State media were reformed and non-partisan, but he failed dismally at this task and in the process destroyed the public media’s professionalism.
To add insult to injury, he wrote a partisan and bigoted column in The Herald, which he used to attack his political enemies, who more often than not, were not afforded the right of reply.
Had Charamba overseen a professional State media, it is beyond doubt that he would not have been at the receiving end of a humiliating attack at Grace’s hands.
His public tongue-lashing should serve as a wake up call to his colleagues that there is no substitute for professionalism and that is what they should be inculcating in their respective departments and ministries.
A mainstay call from the opposition and civil society is the need for media reform and if Charamba is wise enough, he would advise his minister, Christopher Mushohwe on the need to reform public media and make it less partisan.
Public media belongs to every Zimbabwean and are not a part of Zanu PF, something that Charamba knew, but ignored because it served his ends.
Thus, it is imperative that Charamba sees that there are reforms or he will be dressed down many more times by Grace and others within Zanu PF.