In a surprising move, former Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono is said to be selling Modus Publications and its flagship weekly paper, The Financial Gazette, for an undisclosed fee.
It was not clear this week who the new owners or bidders for FinGaz are, with a number of companies and businesspeople said to have shown keen interest in the respected weekly which is popularly known as “The Pink Paper”, including ICT minister and ZiFM owner Supa Mandiwanzira.
Established in 1969, The Financial Gazette has since it came onto the market been one of Zimbabwe’s foremost business and financial newspapers.
Gono bought 100% of Modus Publications 16 years ago from its then owner and publisher, the late Elias Rusike, who himself had acquired it from Clive Murphy in the late 1980s.
Since then, the Pink Paper has been under Gono’s stewardship, toeing a middle of the road approach in its editorial stance, with an emphasis on financial and economic news.
While Gono could not be reached for comment, insiders at Modus Publications confirmed that the paper had been facing challenges in line with the rest of the Zimbabwean business sector, and that it was “on the verge” of being sold.
They also described the former RBZ chief this week as “a lukewarm, arms-length investor and owner”, who appeared more interested in his other ventures and interests than publishing.
“I have been here for more than a decade and have never seen him or heard that he was here. Indeed, those colleagues who came before me also say he never once set foot here ever since he bought this paper?
“Only our CEO occasionally reports that he meets the owner now and then, but never has he himself come to our workplace or been very interested in setting both the business pace and the tone of the paper’s editorial.
“From the look of things, he is on a restructuring mission, shedding off non-core entities, to try and focus his business portfolio towards his core interests,” one of the Modus staffers who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
It could also not be established whether Gono is selling his entire stake in the company or just a part of it. Nehanda Radio