Tabloid newspaper H-Metro has suspended two sub-editors following publication of a comment by a reader on the feedback column claiming the late Zimdancehall chanter Soul Jah Love, who died on Tuesday, should have lived and a top leader in Zanu PF died instead.
According to letters signed by production editor Rosenthal Mutakati, chief sub editor Rungano Gwanzura and sub editor Tinashe Chuma were suspended for 14 days without pay and benefits “pending further investigations.”
“In the meantime, please be advised that you are barred from setting foot at Herald House until the investigations are completed,” read part of the letters.
The duo was served with their suspension letters on Friday, as the state-owned newspaper part of the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group apologised in a tweet.
The comment as published in the H-Metro read: “Rest in Peace Sauro. Your music impacted us in so many ways. We have lost a Zimdancehall legend in you.
“Hapana zvitangaida, kutonga kwaMwari (there is nothing we can do, it’s the will of God). If only we had a say, tingadei tati kufe mumwe munhu weZanu PF arimu presidium (… we would have said someone in the Zanu PF presidium should die). Go well legend.”
H-Metro’s editor Lawrence Moyo apologised on behalf of H-Metro on Twitter.
“In our February 19, 2021, edition of H-Metro, we erroneously published feedback from someone wishing death upon ‘someone in the presidium’. The error is regretted. We apologise sincerely to the Presidium and all our readers for this error and for any inconveniences caused,” Moyo said.
University of Zimbabwe media lecturer Dr Wellington Gadzikwa said the editor of the tabloid must have been suspended instead of the sub-editors.
“The editor not sub editors, must have faced the music. The letter is too crude ‘never set foot at ….’. Usatsike pano futi!”
Media expert, Alexander Rusero had this to say: “Suspending people and retraction are bad fellows. A genuine retraction is owning up to the responsibility and accepting erring. Suspending people and then retract is a subtle way of witch hunt, vengeance and stubbornness. Its as good as Sorry But…”