Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government has challenged the media to play a pivotal role in ensuring that the entirety of the Zimbabwean populace is kept informed of Government policies and programmes to enable them to actively participate in developmental initiatives.

Speaking during her visit to Zimpapers Bulawayo’s Digital and Publishing Division yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Hon Monica Mutsvangwa said Sunday News, Chronicle and their sister publications within the Zimpapers stable have played a vital role in promoting development and effectively communicating the Government’s devolution and decentralisation initiatives.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimpapers publications continue to provide platforms for communication between Government and citizens where the people are able to also communicate with the authorities. She said it was incumbent upon the media to ensure that citizens at grassroots level and those in rural areas were kept informed of ongoing Government developmental initiatives.

“We are here because it is very important. I am delighted to be here at Sunday News and Chronicle. I read Sunday News every week and the Chronicle as well. A month hardly passes without his Excellency President Mnangagwa visiting this city as well as other towns. We were supposed to have hosted our 40th Independence Celebrations here in Bulawayo only to be disrupted by the unforeseen Covid-19 outbreak.

“The Second Republic has a very clear policy of devolution and decentralisation of our programmes and activities. What we want is for our people to be active and also participate in all economic activities in our country right all the way to the districts and the people at the grassroots and rural communities. All this points to the strategic role that you play in communicating Government programmes. I must say you are doing a good job. At the same time you must continue giving people a platform to communicate with their Government, you play that important facilitatory role very well here with your team.

“The devolution programme in our view it’s a game changer. This should be kept on top. I know the Minister of Finance (and Economic Development, Prof Mthuli Ncube) as soon as he got into his position we were looking at the issues of devolution. Monies have been sent (to all provinces) and there are capital projects that have been done. We would want the people of this country to know that Government takes devolution and decentralisation seriously. So we expect you to write extensively about the infrastructure development taking place in the geographical area that we are in as well as the nation.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said Government was impressed that Zimpapers has managed to stay afloat despite the detrimental effects of Covid-19.

“We are also happy that no life has been lost here at your Bulawayo offices and that points to the measures that you put in place in fighting Covid-19. I implore you to continue adhering to them. We want journalists to be safe and continue to play your supposed role of entertaining, educating and informing our people. Your welfare is very important, it is something that is close to our heart. We would like to see continuous improvement in that regard.

“I am happy that despite the challenges Zimpapers was able to innovate and find ways of publishing all their newspapers. This means no job was lost and Government is happy about it. So continue innovating and also finding new ways of reaching your audiences. This year particularly is challenging, we continue to see the cloud of Covid-19 casting a shadow on all of us. I am happy that in spite of those challenges you continued publishing. It shows that your management skills are quite high there,” she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa also toured the Zimpapers Commercial Printing Division in the city.