HARARE – Veteran journalist Gilbert Nyambabvu has been appointed Head of News and Current Affairs at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, ZimLive has learnt.

Nyambabvu, 44, will be given a mandate to reform the state broadcaster’s news packaging and current affairs programming across radio and television.

The ZBC’s planned 24-hour news channel, which the state broadcaster hoped to launch this month, will fall on Nyambabvu’s shoulders.

The extent of his berth from political interference remains to be tested, however.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in a weekend interview that they were planning a major overhaul of the ZBC, and Nyambabvu’s arrival is thought to signal the start of those changes.

The ZBC is often criticised for its poor programming and lack of impartiality in the coverage of current affairs, especially politics. Unlike its peers in the region and beyond, the tax-payer funded ZBC – whose monopoly is at its end with moves to licence more TV stations – has been used by the ruling Zanu PF as its communications outlet, while reserving coverage of the opposition to only negative stories.

“From a policy point of view, they are a national broadcaster and should run current affairs programmes of national interest when they do occur,” Mutsvangwa said a newspaper interview on Sunday.

“We have programmes to turn around ZBC as well as help change its public image. We will revamp its image and the quality of its programmes.”

Nyambabvu, a former executive producer and news presenter at the ZBC, joins from New Zimbabwe.com where he was editor. He previously worked for New Ziana.

The British-trained Nyambabvu holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication; a degree in English and Television as well as a Masters in Law. – ZimLive