MISA-Zimbabwe appeal for President Mugabe’s intervention on BAZ’s legal status

MISA-Zimbabwe is appealing to principals in the inclusive government to come in the open and clear confusion on whether the current board of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) was legally constituted or not.

A joint press statement signed by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara will go a long way in putting the matter to finality. A press conference would even be of greater impact and effect in clarifying the matter at hand.

While the media have repeatedly reported the principals as having ordered the reconstitution of BAZ within specific timeframes, the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, still insists that the broadcasting authority was legally constituted.

A report in The Herald of 22 March 2012 reaffirmed the ministry’s long held position. This perhaps explains why the three weeks deadline the Prime Minister said the principals had given the ministry last month to reconstitute BAZ was ignored, yet again.

It is therefore important that the principals take a firm public position on this matter to clear the air on the status of BAZ as well as affirm their executive authority that is seemingly being wilfully defied.

It has been argued that the appointments in question were illegal as they were not done in terms of Section 4 of the Broadcasting Services Act and the Global Political Agreement. We therefore seek clarity on the manner and format of the consultations that were made with the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) as stipulated under BSA.

It is MISA-Zimbabwe’s submission that the legitimacy of such a key public institution cannot be left to continued conjecture at the expense of BAZ’s credibility, and mired in confusion at the expense of Zimbabweans’ right to full enjoyment of their right to free expression and access to information through multiple broadcasting stations.

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