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Interview with Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Jameson Timba
Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa, Kubatana.net
September 08, 2009

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Jameson TimbaIn what way do you think the appointment of President Joseph Kabila to the SADC Chairmanship will affect the implementation of the Global Political Agreement?
I don't see how it would affect the implementation of the Global Political Agreement. The Chairmanship of SADC is rotational, and SADC as a body works as a collective. So whoever is the Chairperson does not in any way impact on the implementation of the Agreement.

What is the current progress on media reforms?
Currently we are going through a process of reviewing the various recommendations that have come up from stakeholders, with the intention of reviewing the laws governing the media in this country.

Is there a chance that legislation like AIPPA, POSA and BAZ will be repealed or rewritten?
There's an excellent chance that there will be a repeal of AIPPA and there will be an amendment of BAZ.

Why is there a delay in the appointment of members to the Zimbabwe Media Commission?
The Zimbabwe Media Commission, as you are aware, is a Constitutional body. Their appointment is determined by processes outside this Ministry. These are processes, which are determined by the legislature. To the best of my knowledge, the legislature has completed that exercise, and has since submitted the names to the President and the Prime Minister, who in terms of Constitutional Amendment 19 now have to agree on each of the individuals that would have been proposed and thereafter formalize the appointments.

What is your opinion of the media surrounding the selection of candidates to the Media Commission saying that it was a partisan process?
I would want to start by saying that this is the first time that we have walked this road; we have never walked this road before. Independent Constitutional Commissions were in essence introduced by Constitutional Amendment number 19. We'd never done a process of how do you get to appoint such persons. I would like to commend the Standing Rules and Orders Committee of Parliament, for at least initiating a process that in my view gave an opportunity to whoever wanted to be considered for that position to apply. In an environment like ours, which to a very large extent is polarized, you are likely to get accusations of partisanship from various quarters. But I want to say that look, as a start, and as a beginning, it was a good start.

Do you believe that we will achieve an independent media environment or will the reforms result in a partly independent media?
Media reform is a process, and above all in my view it is a set of attitudes. It goes beyond the law. It is an appreciation as an individual either as a recipient or a distributor of information. You have to be convinced in your heart and your mind that you have the freedom to speak. And if you are a receiver you also have to convince yourself in your mind and in your heart that you have got freedom to receive that information and you will make choices as a result of the information that you have received. So I believe in my view that achieving media freedom in this country is not going to be an event, but a process. Listen

The GNU has been accused of dragging its feet in terms of media reforms. Do you think there is a lack of political will from ZANU PF?
Let me start by saying that the question of media reform is specified in the Global Political Agreement signed by the parties. In addition to that, the process of media reform is a government program in terms of it having been adopted under STERP. So whether the MDC likes it or ZANU-PF likes it we're going to go through a process of media reform in this country.

Musician and artist Viomak has started a campaign to have all MDC GNU politicians disclose their personal assets to try and get them to be accountable to the people. Have you heard of this campaign? What is your opinion of it?
I've not heard of the campaign, but I'm not averse to it. I think it's an excellent idea. Currently now there is a provision, within parliament, that parliament can actually ask members to disclose their personal assets and I think it is a good idea. Listen

Finally, as a member of the MDC, and also as a resident of Harare, how do you feel about the Harare City Council spending 353 000 US on luxury vehicles, versus spending the same amount on water treatment chemicals which are badly needed?
I believe that whether we are at Central Government, or we are at Local Government, we need to be able to set our priorities right and do those things that we were elected to do before we consider ourselves.

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Audio File

  • Media freedom is a process
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 44sec
    Date: September 08, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 693KB

  • Disclosure of assets
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 17sec
    Date: September 08, 2009
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 280KB

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