Paradza must arbitrate between Gov and media – journalists

Matthew Takaona

Masvingo – Scribes across the board have hailed Government’s decision to appoint journalist Kindness Paradza to the post of Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

Scribes who spoke to The Mirror said Paradza’s critical role in his new appointment must be to mediate between Government and the media because of the immense respect he enjoys among journalists.

They urged Paradza to go and create an environment of progress.

Paradza replaces Goromonzi West MP Energy Mutodi who was fired from the same position last year.

Edwin Masimba Moyo, a businessman who was a journalist with Ziana and Germany Television Network described the appointment as a critical development.

He said Paradza who went through the mill from a reporter, to a bureau chief, to an editor, a publisher to ZUJ president and deputy secretary general of the International Organisation of Journalists (IOJ) should become a useful bridge between Government and the media and mend relationships.

Moyo said the relationship between the two parties is at its lowest ebb characterized by suspicion and polarisation.

“A proper relationship is one where Government is transparent and the media is constructive. Currently there is suspicion. Polarisation in the media signals a gap and Paradza has the capacity to bridge that gap because of his strong understanding of both the media and Government. We must see a new arrangement of relationships.

“Paradza has gone through the mill, he is immensely respected in the media. Paradza has been an MP for many years, he is the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and is respected in Government circles. His appointment creates an opportunity for a mediator between Government and the media. His big role must be to create understanding and diffuse tension so that an environment of progress is created,” said Moyo.

He urged journalists to support Paradza and added that the appointment is a moment where Government has acknowledged and respected journalists.

Famous journalist, Geoffrey Nyarota said Paradza’s appointment is commendable. He described Paradza as an all-rounder who has seen it all in journalism and lamented Government for wasting time on his predecessor Mutodi.

“It is regrettable that time and energy was wasted on his predecessor, Mutodi. Both the Ministry and the media industry would have derived tremendous benefit from an earlier appointment. Paradza has trained as a journalist and has functioned successfully as one. Not only did he experience the satisfaction of launching his own paper, he endured the pain of seeing it banned by Government,” said Nyarota.

Former media commissioner and ZBC CEO, Henry Muradzikwa said Mnangagwa came up with a good choice by appointing Paradza. Paradza has a record as a patriot and a journalist who is loyal to the principles and ethics of the profession, said Muradzikwa.

“I am confident that Paradza will not let down the profession in the execution of his duties,” said Muradzikwa.
Former Herald Chief Subeditor, Ishmael Mwenda now based in the UK said Paradza has been thrown into a den of lions and urged him to trade with caution. He will find himself working with people who will ensnare and undermine him, said Mwenda.
Mwenda said Paradza was not going to make a lot of impact because he will be surrounded by men and women who have little knowledge of the media.

Former media commissioner, Miriam Sibanda applauded Paradza’s appointment. She hailed the role he played in the current media law reform programmes and regretted that his departure from Parliament will create a void.

Paradza’s secretary general at ZUJ, Tapfuma Machakaire said Paradza worked well with President Mnangagwa when he was president of the journalists’ organization and the latter, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.

“Paradza formed the first media council in the country in 1995 after confronting the then Minister of Legal Affairs who gave him the green light to go ahead with the project. Unlike the current media council, the 1995 body was all-inclusive as both private and State media parties took part in it. Every major stakeholder had a seat on the board i.e.; Zimpapers was represented by then company secretary Lovejoy Charidza, ZBC by its company secretary Erica Ndewere, Financial Gazette had a representative and the late prominent media law lecturer, Professor Feltoe was also on the board,” said Machakaire.

ZUJ president Michael Chideme said it was an honour to the organization to have its former president rising to the position. He urged Paradza to unite the profession and to continue to champion the cause of Press freedom.

Paradza who won many journalism awards was the first black and first African to be appointed deputy secretary general of IOJ. He was ZUJ president between 1993 and 1996, leaving the post to Matthew Takaona in January 1997.

He worked across the Zimbabwe media; at The Sunday Mail, The Herald, Ziana, Manica Post and rose through the ranks to become the acting editor of The Financial Gazette, the country’s leading financial newspaper.

The widely travelled journalist is revered as a fearless investigative journalist who broke many new grounds post-independence; he exposed scandals and was on numerous occasions granted one-on-one interviews by the late President Mugabe who barely gave such opportunities to local scribes.

Paradza launched his own newspaper, The Tribune which was banned by former Minister Jonathan Moyo in 2004. He became MP for Makonde Constituency in 2003. He was a Zanu PF provincial secretary for administration for Mash West and is the current DCC chairman for Makonde. He is the current the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Paradza was born in Chivi 57 years ago and grew up in Gunduza Village in Makonde District. After high school he joined Zimbabwe Institute of Mass Communication and trained as a journalist. He has numerous certificates and diplomas in Journalism and has two degrees in media studies.

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