Zimbabwe Cricket Annual Awards 2005 July 25, 2005

Journalists rewarded for pro-board stance

Zimbabwe's Cricket Player of the Year Awards on Saturday turned out to be nothing more of a journalists' payback episode.

In a function of dubious credibility that probably took the wind out of guests and other cricket personalities who were present in full force, Zimbabwe Cricket splashed out money on a number of journalists who had largely stood by the association during last year's internal rows.

Seven journalists, some whose knowledge of the game is, according to one insider, "as humble as it is astonishing", received around Zim$4 million each in prize money as recognition for their good reporting. The insider noted that the few cricket writers viewed as anti-board were left out in the cold.

Worst of all, the move came at the expense of the players. On a night that was supposed to belong to them, only two player awards were given against the reporters' seven, which should stand as a record given to cricket scribes on a single event.

Lately, Zimbabwe Cricket has also been accused of sending reporters on international tours in a bid to influence their reporting of the unsettled organization. ZC has also in the past been accused of interfering with journalists work.

Lovemore Banda, ZC's media manager, is in the centre of a storm after being accused of favouring pro-board journalists over others. Last week, Banda sent an email to Lawrence Moyo, a reporter on the the pro-government Herald, giving him extra informationon top of an earlier press release sent out. But unfortunately for him, Banda mistakenly forwarded this to other journalists. In the message, Banda, Moyo was told by Banda not to refer to certain material in the email as "others [journalists] will wonder how you accessed them".

Moyo was, unsurprisingly, named the cricket writer of the year for the third time in succession.

Tatenda Taibu was named Cricketer of the Year while the Young Cricketer of the Year award was shared between Matabeleland fast bowler Christopher Mpofu and 18-year-old Mashonaland spinner Graeme Cremer.