…As Manicaland’s two representatives contend for the VP post
THE die has been cast and all preparations are on course for the 2022 Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) elective congress tomorrow (Friday), where new national executive members will be voted into power at a local hotel in Harare.
After a nine-years hiatus, an elective congress will finally take place. The last congress was held in 2013, this is despite the ZUJ constitution stipulating a three year tenure for elected national executive members.
ZUJ programme officer Eric Matingo confirmed that all is set for the congress after having postponed it last week. He said nominations are still open till tomorrow at 10am.
“All is set for the congress which will be held at Pandhari Lodge in Harare from 10:30am to 6pm. So far as of today, we have 32 nominees and eight are women which is about a quarter. This is good for a change to have such a number of female journalists competing,” said Matingo.
The nominees will be vying for the posts of president, two vice-presidents, secretary general, treasurer, five committee members, organizing secretary, deputy organizing secretary, four gender mainstreaming committee members (two males and two females) and two training welfare officers.
Matingo said to make the elections as credible as possible they will be presided over by the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) while observers from the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe, Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) as well as veteran journalists such as Geoffrey Nyarota and Matthew Takaona to mention a few, have also been invited to oversee a free and fair transparent election process.
“We are also expecting solidarity remarks which will be made by the Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Kindness Paradza, representing our Ministry, as well as representatives from the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) and Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU),” he said.
With a membership of nearly 800 journalists countrywide, the ZUJ constitution nonetheless only allows a select few to vote, and this year 62 people have confirmed their participation says Matingo.
“From the 10 provinces in the country two provincial executive committee members, the chairman and secretary, are the ones that come to vote. The outgoing national executive members will also be allowed to vote,” said Matingo.
Whilst Matingo says this year’s elections are historic given that some female nominees are vying for the presidency and secretary general posts, which has never happened before, for Manicaland all eyes will be on the VC post in which two of its provincial executive members are eyeing. ZUJ Manicaland chapter chairperson and Manica Post senior reporter Ray Bande and his secretary Farai Matebvu the Mutare and Buhera districts reporter for The Mirror are both vying for the vice presidency post.
In an interview with Easterntimeszim Bande said if elected, his first port of call would be to do away with the toxic leadership selection criterion where a few choose on behalf of huge membership scattered across the country.
“Elections by nature, are a popularity contest and as such, I draw confidence in the popular view of my cadres in Manicaland to be part of this election. Without their blessings, I would not have made the decision to participate. Precisely, it is always gratifying to answer the call of duty when those around you need you to. I have answered the call from my fellow comrades in Manicaland to give their input to national discourse on journalists’ welfare and capacity building in our profession. I have no doubt that my fellow comrades in the union will respect and include the voice from the east,” he said.
Apart from the need to have ZUJ change the electoral-college system and include participation of all paid up members as a matter of constitutional amendment, Bande also thinks journalism as a profession has to regain its respect.
“We are tired of having to be reminded the false assertion that journalism has gone to the dogs. The time has come for us the good apples remaining in the profession, many as we are, to annihilate the dogs that have come to journalism. In simple terms, journalism has not gone to the dogs at all, but a few dogs have come to journalism. Again this will take serious decision making processes, policy and constitutional amendments,” said Bande.
Responding on the electoral-college system, Matingo said it can only be changed if a resolution is passed during the congress to make elections open to all paid up members. “So unfortunately this year only the 62 permitted in accordance with our constitution will vote,” said Matingo.
The outgoing ZUJ national executive presidium comprised of president Michael Chideme, vice president Godfrey Mtimba, secretary general, the late Foster Dongozi and treasurer Evince Mugumbate.