Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) senior reporter, Moses Matenga, scooped the first prize in the Sino-Zim Journalist of the Year category at the National Journalism and Media Awards (NJAMA) held in Harare last Thursday (11 September).
Matenga was a beneficiary of the Information for Development Trust (IDT) grant and mentorship investigative reporting programme.
The trust promotes the capacity of local and southern African journalists to produce investigative content focusing on governance and accountability in the public and private sectors. Matenga has participated in IDT investigative journalism projects in the last four years and most of his stories have produced direct impact.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) sponsored the Sino-Zim category.
The award-winning story unearthed corruption related to a tender award at the Harare City Council and was produced under the ZimMedia21 programme that is being sponsored by the FOJO Institute and International Media Support (IMS).
Matenga’s investigation revealed that senior officials had awarded tenders worth close to a billion US dollars to four Chinese companies without going to tender as required by the law.
The deal was subsequently stopped.
The follow-up story, showed that the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) opened investigations into the matter and quizzed the suspended town clerk, Hosea Chisango and acting chamber secretary Charles Kandemiri.
The SACU also questioned the acting finance director, Stanley Ndemera and the acting water director, Mabhena Moyo.
In addition, the special anti-graft unit probed three councillors—Kudzai Kadzombe, Stewart Mutizwa and Luckson Mukunguma.
The results of the probe are yet to be publicised.
Presenting the judges’ report at the awards ceremony, veteran journalist, Geoff Nyarota said Matenga’s story was professionally done and met basic ethical expectations like fairness, accuracy and balance.
Acting ZUJ president, Senzo Mpofu, said Matenga’s investigation had saved rat payers’ money which could have been lost in the dubious contracts.
“We encourage journalists to take interest in investigative stories that touch on corruption and bad governance. It is with extreme excitement that we honour Matenga for having exposed corruption at the Harare city council,” said Mpofu in an interview with Grazers News.
Matenga thanked IDT for providing the resources that enabled him to carry out the investigation.
“I am humbled by the IDT for partnering with me and our publication (The Independent) to carry out the investigation. I am happy that our effort was recognised by the judges. This shows that we did a good job,” he said.
Faith Zaba, The Independent editor, mentored the story.