Motion to annul controversial radio licences

Mbizo Member of Parliament Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T) on 6 December 2011 gave notice in parliament to move a motion on the irregular issuance of broadcasting licences by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ).

The motion will call upon parliament to dissolve the current BAZ board which was unilaterally appointed by the Minister of Media , Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu in September 2009.

Chikwinya said the motion would also seek to annul the free-to-air national commercial radio licences issued to AB Communications and Zimpapers Talk Radio to allow for further consultations with stakeholders . It would further seek implementation of provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA).

Chikwinya said: “The motion would also condemn the recent irregular issuance of commercial broadcasting licences to the two politically aligned players, Zimpapers Talk Radio and AB Communications.”

This development comes on the backdrop of MISA-Zimbabwe’s letter of appeal to President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai which noted that the BAZ board which proceeded to issue the two licenses in question was not procedurally constituted as required in terms of the law as its members were unilaterally appointed by the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity on 30 September 2009.

In terms of the BSA as amended in 2007, the President is vested with the powers to appoint nine nominees to the BAZ after consultation with the minister and the parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee. The other three (3) are appointed by the President from a list of six (6) nominees submitted to the President by the same committee.

In its letter, MISA-Zimbabwe further noted that both the President and the Prime Minister are on record confirming and conceding that indeed this legal procedure was not duly followed and that the matter should be revisited. The matter remained unresolved up to the time of the issuance of the two licences rendering the new licenses in question invalid.

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