HARARE – The Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers) sacked acting Herald editor Tichaona Zindoga on Monday, 10 months after he stepped in to replace Joram Nyathi, the paper’s shortest serving editor who lasted just over a month.
Zimpapers CEO Pikirayi Deketeke, in a brief response to our e-mailed questions, said: “Mr Zindoga has left Zimpapers, and Mr William Chikoto is the acting Herald editor.”
Chikoto is a senior editorial executive at Zimpapers, having previously edited the Sunday Mail and The Herald.
In a post on Facebook, Zindoga said: “So you don’t get it from anyone else… Colleagues, friends, comrades, countrymen. The dance with The Herald has come to an end. It was good while it lasted, and I’m certainly happy for it, as with the end itself.”
Zindoga’s dramatic exit was triggered by a cocktail of reasons at the government’s main propaganda outlet.
Tichaona Zindoga was the newspaper’s substantive deputy editor who became editor after an internal editorial coup staged by “Young Turks” working coldly with Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa and permanent secretary Nick Mangwana.
Caesar Zvayi was the first to be ousted in December last year and replaced by Nyathi, his former political editor. Nyathi was fired in February this year, accused of failing to put pictures of President Emmerson Mnangagwa on the front page after he returned from a foreign trip.
Zindonga, making the leap from political editor, was particularly assisted by Mangwana to take the editorial position after he helped the bureaucrat, then Zanu PF’s point-man in England, publish his opinions.
Mangwana, a relative of Zanu PF legal affairs secretary Paul Mangwana, was brought in as one of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new generation of bureaucrats following the November 2017 coup which ousted founding leader Robert Mugabe.
From day one, it was an uphill struggle for Zindoga: he was internally seen as too young, inexperienced and lacking the capacity to run the government’s information and propaganda flagship.
Besides, he was also an unpopular figure at Zimpapers. He was accused of irrationally undermining colleagues, including sending senior reporters to the provinces, and being arrogant. He also lacked the minister’s confidence.
Sources say he tried to lobby first lady Auxillia Mnangagwa for support in vain as his exit looked imminent.
A source said: “In the history of the newspaper, no editor has acted for so long. There were real doubts within the organisation about his capacity and that’s why his confirmation never came through.
“Then there was his rather dramatic move to demote senior reporters and send them to the provinces, which did not endear him with the newsroom.
“Finally, there are whispers about his trip to South Africa last week where it is said he met an undesirable character. I don’t know who, but it clearly appears to be the trigger. And don’t forget there’s a new board chaired by Tommy Sithole, a former Herald editor himself, who really does not rate the guy for starters.”
Zindoga would have been surprised at the decision to sack him entirely from Zimpapers, but executives are keen to give the next editor a clean berth.
Source – ZimLive