THE Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has issued eight new radio licences out of some 21 applicants with pro-Zanu PF companies and individuals among the main beneficiaries.

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AB Communications, which is owned by Zanu PF Member of Parliament and cabinet minister Supa Mandiwandira, along with the State-owned Kingstons book shop were handed two licences each.

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The development brings to three, the number of radio stations owned by Mandiwanzira following the establishment of his ZiFM two years ago.

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Also awarded a licence is the Zimpapers group which already owns StarFM.

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Meanwhile, former ZBC chief executive Munyaradzi Hwengwere was also given a licence with the remaining going to theatre guru Cont Mhlanga of Amakhosi Cultural Centre.

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In a statement, BAZ chief executive officer, Tafataona Mahoso confirmed the licence awards to the following companies:

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Masvingo: AB Communications t/a Gogogoi FM

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Zvishavane: Ray of hope t/a YAFM

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Gweru: AB Communication t/a FAYA FM

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Kariba: Kingstones t/a Nyaminyami FM

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Victoria Falls: Fairtalk Communications t/a Breeze FM

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Mutare: Zimpapers  t/a Diamond FM

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Bulawayo: Fairtalk Communications t/a Skyz Metro FM

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Harare: Kingstons t/a KE100.4 FM

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Mahoso the licensees were expected to be on air “as soon as possible”.

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“This determination by the Authority was guided by proposal each applicant for a particular licence area, the outcome of the public inquires and the guidance provided in terms of the Broadcasting Services Act,” he said.

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According to BAZ, 21 applicants were received and 18 were shortlisted. Five applicants failed to meet the qualification criteria provided in terms of Broadcasting Services Act.