Geoffrey Nyarota is an award-winning journalist and politician who is known mostly for his investigative journalism. He is the former editor of the Daily News, a privately owned daily newspaper in Zimbabwe. He was also the editor of The Chronicle in the 80s and is known for having broken the Willowgate Scandal story.

Geoffrey Nyarota
Picture of Geoffrey Nyarota
Born Geoffrey Nyarota
January 1, 1951
Manicaland
Occupation
  • Journalist
  • Politician
  • Entrepreneur
  • Author
Spouse(s) Ursula Nyarota
Children Three

Contents

Background

Nyarota was born on 1 January 1951 in the then Southern Rhodesia and trained as a teacher. In 1987 he and 12 other blacks benefited from the Herald's new training programme and started working for the Herald. He is married to Ursula Nyarota and they have three children together.[1] In 1977, he was picked up by British South African Police Special Branch from his rural home in Mudzimukunze village and was accused but not formally charged, with transporting the guerillas that had launched an attack on Inyazura Police Station.[2]

As Chronicle Editor

Nyarota became editor at the Chronicle in 1983.

He became prominent in 1988 after unearthing the Willowgate Scandal where top government officials were using their positions to buy cars from the state-owned Willowvale Motor Industries at discounted prices before re-selling them at 200% profit. This ultimately led to his dismissal by the government.[3]

As editor of the government-owned Chronicle, Nyarota is alleged to have played a part in Gukurahundi. Nyarota is blamed for being silent as government perpetrated atrocities on the people of Matabeleland said to be in support of PF Zapu.[4]

The Willowgate Scandal Aftermath

After he was dismissed from The Chronicle, he went into self-exile in South Africa where he taught Journalism only returning years later in 1997.

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As Daily News Editor

Before the Daily News, Nyarota worked for the Financial Gazette weekly newspaper. In April 1999 he was the founding editor of The Daily News. He together with a few journalists launched the Daily News which provided an alternative view for the Zimbabwean people. During his three and half years at the paper he was arrested six times and threatened with death numerous times. On August 1, 2000, one Bernard Masara revealed that he had been sent by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to assassinate Nyarota.[5]

During Nyarota's time at the Daily News, the paper surpassed the print of the state-run Herald to become the most widely read daily paper in Zimbabwe.[6] In April 2000 The Daily News offices were bombed and on 28 January 2001 a massive explosion destroyed the paper’s printing presses. The following day, on the 29th of January, Nyarota announced that they would not stop running the paper daily despite the bombing.

He resigned in December 2002 after Samuel Sipepa Nkomo told him he was going to fire him, apparently for having paid striking employees their salaries. Nkomo had been appointed executive chairman at the paper in April 2001 and Nyarota said since appointment he knew they would clash. Nyarota has said that Nkomo had been a casualty of one of the Daily News' many investigations over the years, before he became executive chairman of the Daily News. After resigning from the Daily News, Nyarota fled the country to the USA as he said he felt his life was under threat.[6]

Online Publishing

He relocated to the United States in 2003 were he started a news website called thezimbabwetimes.com. Nyarota as managing director of the site got contributions from journalists in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Great Britain and the United States.[7]

Return to Zimbabwe and entry into Politics

Nyarota returned to Zimbabwe in 2010, to take up his job at the Daily News as it was just being revived. The Daily News was also acquiring his online publication. The marriage with the Daily News didn't work out however as he was dismissed shortly after relocation to Zimbabwe. Nyarota then went into business founding Buffalo Communication, a magazine publishing company which at one point was publishing a motoring publication and the Harare Agricultural Show Magazine and the Chamber of Mines Journal.[8] Having been dismissed by the Daily News he took the matter to the Labour Court, which referred the case to arbitration.[9] In 2015 the High Court ruled in favour of Nyarota and ordered the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, who are the publishers of the Daily News, to pay Nyarota a total of $91 000 awarded to him by an arbitrator in 2012.[9]

In December 2012, Nyarota joined the MDC-T political party as a Makoni South constituency Member of Parliament hopeful with the objective to contest in the 2013 parliamentary elections.[8] To become the MDC-T candidate for Makoni South, Nyarota needed to beat Pishai Muchauraya at the primaries that were held in June 2013. Nyarota lost the primaries and went to contest as an Independent candidate as he complained that the Muchauraya had rigged the elections. As independent candidate, Nyarota lost the July 31 parliamentary elections to Zanu-PF's Mandi Chimene.

Books

After his career in journalism, Nyarota authored a book titled Against the Grain: Memoirs of a Zimbabwean Newsman which was published in 2006 by Zebra Press in South Africa.[8]

Geoff Nyarota Mugabe Book.jpg

In April Nyarota's second book titled "The Graceless Fall of Robert Mugabe", was published. The booked was published by Penguin.

Awards

Nyarota has won over nine awards during his active days. In 2001 he won the International Press Freedom Award which is given to journalists who show courage in their discharge of duties despite facing hardships such as threats, imprisonment and attacks. The awards are organised by the Committee to Protect Journalists.[10] The following year in 2002 he won the Golden Pen of Freedom Award and UNESCO's Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.[11]

References

  1. GEOFFREY NYAROTA, Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: July 14, 2015
  2. Geoffrey Nyarota, Seeking to shed light on the mass graves of Rusape, Facebook, Published: May 24, 2013, Retrieved: July 14, 2015
  3. Willowgate report shows Zim car-scandal whitewash, Mail and Guardian, Published: September 27, 2013, Retrieved: July 14, 2015
  4. Percy Makombe, Nyarota attempts to spin his mistakes, The Standard, Published: 3 Dec 2004, Retrieved: 15 Apr 2018
  5. Zimbabwe 'murder plot' fails, British Broadcasting Corporation, Published: August 1, 2000, Retrieved: July 14, 2015
  6. 6.0 6.1 Alvin Powell Zimbabwean journalist Nyarota finds sanctuary at Harvard: Years of uncovering corruption brought threats, arrest, Harvard Gazette, Retrieved:13 Jan 2015, Published:17 April 2003
  7. defiant voiceAfrican journalist delivers news from afar
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Politics thrust upon me –– Nyarota, Zimbabwe Independent, Retrieved:13 Jan 2015, Published:19 April 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 Herald Reporters Nyarota wins labour dispute, "Herald", Published: July 14, 2015, Retrieved: July 14, 2015
  10. Nyarota: Awardee 2001
  11. [Geoffrey Nyarota of Zimbabwe awarded World Press Freedom Prize 2002]
  12. "Geoffrey Nyarota" Geoff Nyarota for MP Makoni South, Published: Date Not Given, Retrieved: July 14, 2015