Fighting for freedom behind the scenes

Radio Dialogue director, Debra Mabunda epitomises a special brand of Zimbabwean women who are fighting behind the scenes for democracy and citizen’s rights to access to information and media freedom.

Debra Mabunda Radio Director.
Debra Mabunda Radio Director.

Born in 1961 in Insiza district in Matabeleland South, Mabunda is one of the founding board members of Radio Dialogue, an initiative owned and controlled by the local community.

“When Radio Dialogue was formed in 2001, I was one of the people recommended by Archbishop Pius Ncube to represent the church in the 10-member board.

“Others included Fr Thomas Tshabalala, Jethro Mpofu, Sister Angelina Phiri, Edmund Shonhiwa and Fr Nigel Johnson, who was also the director,” said Mabunda in a recent interview.

Mabunda, the first woman to lead the Roman Catholic Zimbabwe Parish Council, left the organisation in 2006 to join his husband in the United Kingdom. She worked for a nursing home as a ward manager before she was recalled by the board in August to take over from Johnson as director.

“It is sad that Zimbabwe is almost the last country in Africa and probably in the world to embrace the concept of Community Radio stations. We have engaged all the successive ministers of information from the time of Jonathan Moyo, as well as members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on media and information about this issue. But no community licence has been issued yet. Recently we had an all stakeholders conference and resolved to give the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe an ultimatum to licence community radio stations ,failure of which we shall march to Harare,” said Mabunda, a mother of five.

She said since then the station had been using legitimate alternative means of communication, such as distribution of topical tunes, radio programmes on CDs and cassettes, road shows, focus group discussions, family fun days and public speaking.

The organisation is also closely working with other stakeholders to apply the liberalisation of airwaves in the country.

Radio has also established a solid base with the local community.

“We have established committees in all 29 wards of Bulawayo. These seven-member committees are responsible for initiating and organising Radio Dialogue activities in the wards,” she explained.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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