A veteran interviewer of former president Robert Mugabe is being sued for $1m by his employer, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, state media reported on Monday.
Tazzen Mandizvidza, ZBC’s head of news and current affairs, is accused of “financial irregularities” that caused the ZBC “massive losses” more than four years ago, according to the state-run Herald newspaper.
“ZBC claims the debt was never cancelled and that the court should now issue an order compelling him to pay $1 083 362,09 with interest,” the paper said.
The news executive conducted many of the annual birthday interviews with Mugabe in the last years of his rule. Mugabe’s birthday interviews were always painfully long and had to be aired in two parts on successive evenings on state TV. Mandizvidza did Mugabe’s 93rd birthday interview in February last year, just months before the veteran leader was ousted after a brief military takeover.
‘$27 000 per month’
Mandizvidza was suspended from ZBC in late 2014 in the wake of the “Salarygate” scandal. This involved revelations that many top officials in state-run firms had awarded themselves massive salaries and perks.
Mandizvidza, who was later rehired by ZBC, was said to be earning nearly $27 000 per month, the private Standard newspaper reported at the time.
The paper said 46 managers at ZBC were earning monthly wages that totalled nearly half a million US dollars.