Motion in parliament to cancel controversial radio licences

An MDC-T legislator on Tuesday gave notice of his intention to move a motion in parliament, calling for the cancellation of the two radio licences controversially awarded last month. Settlement Chikwinya, the MP for Mbizo, also wants the current Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to be dissolved.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa on Wednesday Chikwinya said the BAZ board was unilaterally appointed by Information Minister Webster Shamu in 2009. He said both Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai also conceded that proper legal procedures were not followed and that the matter should be revisited.

It is on this basis that Chikwinya’s motion in parliament will seek to annul the granting of national commercial radio licences to, “the two politically aligned players, Zimpapers Talk Radio and AB Communications.” He said the move would allow for further consultations to take place with all the relevant stakeholders.

Explaining the process, Chikwinya said that if by next Tuesday enough MP’s support the motion it will be adopted and a vote on it passed. Any decision on the matter that is taken by Parliament will then be forwarded to the executive arm of government, which includes the President and the Prime Minister. In the past he said Mugabe has refused to implement such decisions.

Asked what would happen if Mugabe again refused to act on their vote, Chikwinya said in terms of their powers all they could do would be to summon the Information Minister before parliament and demand an explanation for the decision. The MP said it was also up to media pressure groups and others in civil society to lobby around his motion and exert pressure.

Despite apparent consensus that the BAZ board is illegally constituted, the same body at the end of November invited applications for 14 ‘local’ commercial radio licenses, to be dotted around the country’s major urban centres. These licenses will be in addition to the two national commercial broadcasting licenses they issued.

The application fee and radio broadcasting service license cost of US$2,500 and US$7,500, in addition to a basic license fee of US$50,000, has already been slammed as expensive. There is also a feeling that as happened with the two licences awarded last month, these 14 would also be given to ZANU PF people.

As if the prevailing confusion and controversy was not enough BAZ also called for applications for licenses for free to air satellite usage. The advert was worded in a complicated manner, leading to experts remarking that it was just another attempt to stop any Zimbabwean initiative from broadcasting a radio service, in any form. – SW Radio Africa News

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *