Mduduzi Mathuthu, the editor of the state-owned Chronicle newspaper, has effectively been demoted after being told to pack his bags and head to Namibia to become editor of the little-known Southern Times newspaper based in Windhoek.
In a letter dated 17 May 2016, seen by Nehanda Radio and written by the Zimpapers Group Chief Executive Pikirai Deketeke, Mathuthu was told the change was with immediate effect and that he needed to take up the new post in Namibia by Monday 23 May, 2016.
“You shall be based in Windhoek, Namibia at the Southern Times Offices. The General Manager of the Southern Times shall formally facilitate your accommodation arrangements,” Deketeke wrote.
Innocent Madonko has been appointed the acting editor of the Chronicle effective 23 May.
Although no reason was given for the change, its thought Mathuthu is the victim of the vicious infighting rocking the ruling Zanu PF party over who will succeed President Robert Mugabe when he eventually dies or retires.
Seen as a pioneering anti-government critic who led the internet revolution when he founded the UK based New Zimbabwe.com website, Mathuthu shocked many when he agreed to leave the UK and head back to Zimbabwe to edit a state owned newspaper.
His close relationship with the then Information Minister Jonathan Moyo was to many the reason why he was appointed to the post. Moyo was demoted to the Higher Education Ministry and it appears his proteges are being purged one by one.
There is speculation that a series of articles in the Chronicle shining a spotlight on the role of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa during the Gukurahundi Massacres could be one of many reasons why Mathuthu is being picked on.