Zimbabwe: Mr Riimz's Future At ZTV Hangs in the Balance

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The future of ZTV’s Arthur Marime -- better known as Mr Riimz -- hangs in the balance after he fell out with authorities over what they felt was misrepresentation on the Hola Africa project. Hola Africa is a reality show organised by the African Broadcast Media Partnership Against HIV/Aids in which Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings' finance and corporate services general manager Semukeliso Gono is the local spokesperson.

Last week, Gono issued a statement to the effect that Riimz was not part of Hola Africa and that he had only been invited to conduct interviews. Riimz had been quoted in various newspapers as a spokesman.

"At the moment Marime is not part of the Hola Africa team. We only requested his services, that were to conduct interviews for us at the point when he was still presenting youth.com. He did the interviews for us and the programme will be screened soon on ZTV. That was his only part at Hola Africa," she said.

In what might be a mere coincidence, Riimz has not presented the last two Sisonke Mix programmes, -- a popular ZTV musical show on Saturday nights -- amid rumours that he had been fired. The official position at ZTV, where Riimz is a part-time employee, is that the dreadlocked presenter has taken time off.

"Marime is still a Sisonke Mix presenter, he was only given some days off. You must know that he is not here as a full-time employee. Like all other presenters he is just a part-time worker," said ZBH's television production manager, Lawrence Maphosa, this week.

Riimz would neither deny nor confirm his dismissal when contacted by city.com. Instead he referred all questions to ZBH officials. "I was told that I should not comment on any issues involving Hola Africa and I think the best people to talk to are Caroline Hungwe or Emma Shamuyarira," he said.

(The Herald (Harare), 28 July 2007)