Tuesday 13 April 2021
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Minister, NEPC board divided over Mathe

Minister of Information and Communication Technology Stanley Simataa is facing his first major test since his appointment as minister after the board of New Era Publication Corporation allegedly ignored his advise to renew the employment contract of New Era CEO Dr Audrin Mathe.
Mathe’s five-year contract ends later this year.
Sources privy to the ongoing saga said Simataa has not taken lightly to the manner in which the board is handling the matter.
“The board is dragging its feet on the matter which gives an impression they do not want to renew Mathe’s contract, the delay gives credence to rumours that the board is divided because there are those that feel there is need for new leadership at New Era. There are however those who feel Mathe has not received the adequate support to grow the paper,” said the source.
The state mouthpiece has been severely criticised over its performance in recent years, there are those that feel it is too aligned to pleasing government instead of pushing the interests of its biggest shareholder-the taxpayers.
Simataa yesterday said “the matter is still with the board, not with me”.
He also did not confirm or deny his position on whether he wants Mathe’s contract to be renewed or not.
Board chair Esau Mbako also kept his cards close to his chest.
“I cannot disclose such information. When it comes to personnel matters it becomes a sensitive matter.
I am sorry but I cannot discuss personnel matters in the public domain,” he said.
Although NEPC is taxpayer-funded and therefore accountable to taxpayers at all times, Mbako said: “When it comes to public office bearers that is the principle, but in this case we have channels that we must follow.”
The Patriot understands Simataa last week directed the board to do an assessment on Mathe’s performance during his term.
Simataa met the board last week to discuss the matter.
“The minister gave the board a week to conduct their own assessment into his performance that will inform their decision.
The management did their evaluation and scored Mathe over 80%, but the minister wants the board to conduct their own assessment,” said a ministerial source.
Mathe yesterday refused to comment on the matter saying “I am not in a positon to comment on matters involving the board and the minister, please approach the relevant authorities”.

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