HARARE – Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief correspondent Reuben Barwe has been elected unopposed as secretary for information and publicity in the Zanu PF District Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections for Makoni district.
The veteran broadcaster is one of the many practicing professionals who took part in the ruling party elections that were marred by reports of rigging and ballot stuffing.
Barwe, 67, joined ZBC in 1987 as a junior reporter and rose through the ranks to become the main man at the state-owned broadcaster.
Barwe was among six journalists once placed on travel sanctions by the European Union for aiding and abetting human rights abuses, but the sanctions were later lifted.
The others were the late Judith Makwanya and Happison Muchechetere (ZBC) and Zimbabwe Newspapers journalists Pikirayi Deketeke, Caesar Zvayi and Munyaradzi Huni.
Muchechetere has since left ZBC and is now the chief executive officer of the newly-licenced Dzimbabwe TV, while Huni and Zvayi are also no longer with Zimpapers.
The Zanu PF district elections also saw active civil servants participating in the poll.
Acting ZBC CEO Helliate Rushwaya and the ZBC’s head of news Alson Mfiri both declined to comment.
Barwe told ZimLive he does not want to comment and terminated the call abruptly.
The ZBC is accused of Zanu PF bias, and Barwe’s foray into politics will sharpen criticism of the monopoly state broadcaster.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said it was an “absolute joke” that a ZBC reporter can hold a political party office and keep his job.
“This violates s61(4)(b) of the Constitution which requires Zanu BC (sic) to be impartial. The political capture of state media must stop,” Mahere commented on Twitter.
Harare magistrate Milton Serima faces disciplinary action by the Judicial Service Commission for standing for election in Mt Darwin.
In Gweru, prosecutor Namatirai Chipere was forced to resign after she ran for legal affairs secretary in the DCCs.
The constitution prohibits judges and prosecutors from participating in partisan political activities.
Zanu PF held the DCC elections last weekend as part of restructuring ahead of the 2023 general elections.