Following the dramatic resignation of ex-Community Newspapers’ Association of Zimbabwe (CNAZ) Chairperson Jasper Maposa under protest over a week ago, the organisation’s membership has roundly dismissed the outgoing Chair’s allegations of corruption and embezzlement of funds by other board members, as bizzarely unauthentic.
CNAZ is a grouping of 18 publishers of community publications countrywide which was founded in 2009 to bring together, promote and support community newspapers from across the country.
In a dispatch written by CNAZ Secretary General Owen Matava, which was seen by Zwnews, the organisation said allegations of embezzlement of funds raised by Maposa were not only false, but unsubstantiated, as the association is yet to secure donor funding. Presently, CNAZ said, the organisation is reliant on member subscriptions and individual contributions.
According to Matava, for the first year that the current executive has been in office, it has only realised ‘material support for its various activities’ while donor funding has been agonisingly elusive. On alleged abuse of funds, CNAZ said any such abuse would involve the outgoing chair who is the most senior of the only three signatories to the association’s bank account.
CNAZ, Matava said, has not become a ‘feeding trough’ for board members.
” Because the Association……. has relied predominantly on member subscriptions and other individual contributions, there is no “feeding trough” for board members to speak of. Jasper Maposa is one of the three signatories to the Association’s bank account and if there was any dirty dipping then he would be a chief culprit as the most senior signatory”, he said.
When Maposa left the association in a huff, he also alleged that veteran media administrator, Maggie Mzumara, who is CNAZ National Coordinator, is double-faced and that she has literally been captured by other executive members of the association, who have a tendency of manipulating her.
Alleged Maposa in his resignation letter addressed to Matava:
“Members have abrogated their roles and responsibilities to the National Coordinator who also happens to be Janus faced – is a publisher on one end and an employee on another. That has serious governance challenges and has opened an avenue for manipulation by other members. I am not bend on offering an acutely beak prognosis devoid of solutions hence I encourage CNAZ members to find ways of resolving these governance contradictions. It became and is still increasingly difficult to offer guidance to a National Coordinator who is also a publisher because of the dual nature of her roles”
But CNAZ vehemently dismisses the allegations, saying:
“Jasper Maposa speaks of the National Coordinator, Maggie Mzumara’s role as conflicting with the fact that she is a publisher, yet in a meeting he participated in, the same meeting which elevated him to chairperson, a meeting held on 10 November 2018 and attended by the whole membership, Maggie Mzumara, after unanimous agreement of all in the room, was appointed to be National Coordinator. This was after it was noted that of all present she was the publisher most suited for the position on a voluntary bases. The decision was unanimous and Jasper Maposa was part and parcel of the said meeting and its binding resolutions. There are minutes to this effect”
CNAZ also said as board Chairperson, Maposa had the latitude to report alleged abuse of funds to the police if there was anything amiss’ in the organisation’s operations.
When contacted for comment, Maposa, who told this reporter that he was engaged in another meeting, said:
“I stand by (what) I said. The letter is misguided. We will have to meet and talk about this”.
Meanwhile, following Maposa’s unceremonious exit last week, CNAZ has appointed veteran journalist Matthew Takaona as it’s chairperson.
“According to the CNAZ constitution, the vice chairperson automatically assumes the chair position in such circumstances. CNAZ has shown confidence in Maggie Mzumara by retaining her as national coordinator of the organisation”, reads the statement.
“Takaona is a prominent journalist who has served in the media at the highest level as a Commissioner with the Zimbabwe Media Commission, president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and a member of the Media Ethics Committee appointed by Government in 2002 to gather public views on the state of the media”
The new CNAZ boss is also media consultant for the regional weekly publication, Masvingo Mirror.