BAZ exposes patronage

The awarding of the, “first ever licensed free-to-air independent national commercial radio stations since independence in 1980” (i.e. the AB Communications (Zi Radio), Zimpapers (Zimpapers talk Radio)) by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe should be welcomed with caution.

It is highly likely that there will be no change in terms of service or content. The government, which has been in control of the highly patronized Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings and Zimpapers, holds a majority shareholding in the newly promoted Zimpapers talk radio.

The integrity of Supa Mandiwanzira, who once served for the ZBH, is also questionable and has been viewed as an appendage of the former ruling party, Zanu (PF). Of late, he is rumoured to have been offered a constituency in Manicaland, to stand for Zanu (PF). This development also brings us to question whether Tafataona Mahoso, the Chief Executive Officer of BAZ has changed. Mahoso became a disgrace after he campaigned for the ban of The Daily News, earning him the nickname, Media Hangman, in the media fraternity.

Information is one of the vital components of democracy as its availability directly or indirectly impacts other things. It is only through the availability of information that citizens can meaningfully participate in governance issues. It also enables people to make informed choices during electoral times and discuss issues of accountability and transparency.

With such knowledge on the significance of information, we demand initiatives that practically work towards bridging the information gap. Our hope is that the body shall issue licenses based on merit and not meant to further serve the selfish interests of politicians at the expense of the people of Zimbabwe.

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