Statement by CNAZ in regard to murky ZEC 2023 Election Tenders

The Community Newspapers’ Association of Zimbabwe (CNAZ) executive committee notes with grave concern reports of alleged murky tender deals worth US$40 million entered into between ZEC, businessman Wicknell Chivhayo and his associates.

The report alleges that the tenders were inflated by 265%.

This report by News Hawks in its edition of May 24-30 2024 comes at a time when ZEC cancelled advert bookings for all community newspapers during the 2023 harmonised elections on the guise that the Commission was broke and did not have money to spend on publicising election information to the electorate.

CNAZ made frantic efforts to get adverts for its 18 members from the Commission even if this meant getting just some of them.

In the process we met various authorities including the then Minister of Information, Mrs Monica Mutsvangwa, ZEC deputy Chairman Rodney Kiwa and the Zimbabwe Media Commission.

All the three persuaded ZEC to support local community newspapers with adverts as has been the arrangement for the past two decades and Mrs Mutsvangwa went to the point of writing a letter to the Commission chairperson, Priscila Chigumba.

Election adverts have over the years and in the First Republic been a lifeline for community media.

They enabled community media to retool and recapitalise. During the time of Mr George Charamba as Permanent Secretary of Information and Dr Tafataona Mahoso as ZMC CEO, a resolution was made that because Government cannot set a Media Fund to support the media as required by the law, election adverts from ZEC will be used.

Since 2 000, every election had seen ZEC setting aside an advertising budget for community newspapers.

We were therefore shocked when this arranged was revoked without any explanation. This is not how transparency and good governance works.

The failure by ZEC to give adverts to community newspapers weakened most of the newspapers and this has seen over 60% closing down or partially closing and yet others retrenching significantly and altering contracts for staffers from full time to part time.

Dozens of journalists and media workers dependent on community newspapers lost jobs and our organisations lost the opportunity to expand their operations.

We as CNAZ hereby:

  • Unequivocally condemn corruption and the abuse of national resources for personal gain of a few individuals at the expense of a whole industry
  • Demand a transparent system and clear criteria of issuance of adverts to newspapers by ZEC
  • State that this approach by ZEC is anti-media and not in the spirit pledged by President Mnangagwa of supporting industry  and creating jobs
  • State that the arrangement where adverts are given to a narrow group of media outlets is not in the national spirit espoused by the President Mnangagwa of leaving no one behind


  • We urge the Ministry and ZMC in their Constitutional obligations to support the media; to come to the table and thrash out a clear, transparent policy on how ZEC adverts should be distributed
  • To review how last year’s adverts were distributed and the criteria used thereof
  • To audit the effectiveness of the information dissemination arrangement that ZEC used last year

We make this statement in the genuine spirit of developing our media industry which now trails far behind other countries. A weak Fourth Estate means a weak executive, a weak legislature and naturally a weak judiciary because the checks and balances system is broken.

Leave a Reply

Open chat
Scan the code
Hello 👋
Can we help you?