Herald Editor Fired For Meeting “An Undesirable Character,” In South Africa
The Zimpapers Group has appointed former Herald Editor William Chikoto as the interim editor of the flagship daily with immediate effect following the long-expected sacking of Tichaona Zindoga.
Zindoga has been acting editor since the beginning of this year.
The Newspapers Group sacked Zindoga on Monday, 10 months after he stepped in to replace Joram Nyathi, who lasted just over a month in office.
In a post on Facebook, Zindoga said: “So you don’t get it from anyone else… Colleagues, friends, comrades, countrymen. The dance with The Herald has come to an end. It was good while it lasted, and I’m certainly happy for it, as with the end itself.”
From day one, it was an uphill struggle for Zindoga: he was internally seen as too young, inexperienced and lacking the capacity to run the government’s information and propaganda flagship.
Besides, he was also an unpopular figure at Zimpapers. He was accused of irrationally undermining colleagues, including sending senior reporters to the provinces, and being arrogant. He also lacked the minister’s confidence.
Sources say he tried to lobby first lady Auxillia Mnangagwa for support in vain as his exit looked imminent.
A source said: “In the history of the newspaper, no editor has acted for so long. There were real doubts within the organisation about his capacity and that’s why his confirmation never came through.
“Then there was his rather dramatic move to demote senior reporters and send them to the provinces, which did not endear him with the newsroom.
“Finally, there are whispers about his trip to South Africa last week where it is said he met an undesirable character. I don’t know who, but it clearly appears to be the trigger. And don’t forget there’s a new board chaired by Tommy Sithole, a former Herald editor himself, who really does not rate the guy for starters.”
Zindoga would have been surprised at the decision to sack him entirely from Zimpapers, but executives are keen to give the next editor a clean berth.
Chikoto edited The Herald from 2009 to 2012 before being appointed Editorial Executive.
In that position, Chikoto was in charge of convergence of content across all Zimpapers platforms — newspapers, online and radio.
He was also responsible for training journalists to write across the three platforms and overseeing the group’s content strategy.
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