By Tendai Kamhungira
The Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services ministry have voiced concern over the controversial appointment of Acie Lumumba as head of the newly-created Finance ministry communications committee.
Deputy Information minister Energy Mutodi, told the Daily News yesterday that the appointment came as a surprise to them, as they were never consulted.
“I am afraid that the appointment of a communications chairperson in the ministry of Finance may undermine the role that is to be played by the Information ministry. Most governments realise the world over that not all ministers, especially those appointed for their technical expertise have good communication skills, hence the need for an Information ministry that communicates government policy to the public,” Mutodi said.
Lumumba, whose real name is William Gerald Mutumanje, was appointed to chair a communications “taskforce” in the Finance ministry.
However, Ncube came under fire over the appointment, which was made on Friday, as several citizens, argued this was an ill-informed decision.
The Finance minister, who is one of the technocrats appointed by Mnangagwa after the July 30 elections, has however, not yet made public the names of the other members of the committee.
But Mutodi, yesterday said if all government ministries were to go by Ncube’s stance, the government will end up with an inflated workforce.
“If all ministries manned by technocrats would resort to communications chairpersons we will eventually have a bloated workforce and a duplication of duties as the Information ministry must continue to maintain its oversight role on all policy communications.
“We have a minister, a deputy minister and a permanent secretary in the Information ministry and I think this is enough staff complement to cover government communications. We even further have a deputy chief secretary for presidential communications hence the need for us to limit recruitment of any additional communications personnel at government level,” Mutodi said.
He further said that people with a passion for communications such as Lumumba could assist as members of the ZBC board that they are currently putting together.
Lumumba, who is a former Zanu PF member, quit the liberation movement in 2016, citing failure to deliver on its electoral promises.
He later launched his own opposition party, Viva Zimbabwe, after he was fired as the chairperson of a steering committee on the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment, amid allegations of misappropriation of funds meant for the Zimbabwe Youth Council.
He was also at the centre of controversy after he was filmed performing a sexual act with his partner. The sex tape was recovered from his house during a police raid.
Lumumba, who has three unresolved fraud cases, was also previously in the eye of a storm when he was accused of “lying” that he had obtained a degree from the prestigious Harvard University. DailyNews