MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora’s party is paying media houses to interview him and remain relevant, it has emerged.
Mwonzora had to fork out money for the daily paper NewsDay to interview him yesterday for a show in which he then threatened rival opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to never use the MDC brand or risk being “dealt” with.
NewsDay confirmed that the broadcast was initiated by Mwonzora who called them and paid to be screened.
NewsDay head of news and current affairs, Blessed Mhlanga, made the startling revelations on social media when challenged to explain why Mwonzora was getting wider coverage on the NewsDay platforms than other politicians
“The last show was paid for. It was a call in,” Mhlanga disclosed Saturday evening. “We made that clear ever (on) our poster where it was written “in partnership with the MDC-T.”
Mhlanga explained that AMH Holdings, which owns the NewsDay and other stables, is just a business and if someone paid to be covered, they cover them.
“If one pays for airtime, we can’t say no. We need to keep our lights on.”
Mhlanga further disclosed that opposition fringe leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku also did pay twice for coverage, as did Thokozani Khupe and Dr. Nkosana Moyo.
Main opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa appeared once on the Heart and Soul TV, Mhlanga revealed. He however did not disclose if Chamisa’s program was also sponsored.
Responding to the disclosures, journalist Hopewell Chin’ono said this showed Mwonzora was fast losing relevance and will have to continue pumping out more money to stay in newspaper headlines. Chin’ono had previously accused media of trying too hard to keep Mwonzora in the headlines.
“Have you noticed that the ordinary citizens have totally ignored Douglas Mwonzora? It is only the media that keeps going where there is no story.
“Douglas Mwonzora only exists in the media not in the public consciousness. The media must report stories, and not make them up!”
Generally, it is not unusual for politicians to pay to be covered by media. However, that usually happens during an election season when the stakes are too high and the competition for publicity intense. Away from an election, politicians tend to not pay for coverage.
Meanwhile, Mwonzora’s spokesperson Lloyd Damba hung up the phone twice when reached for comment. □