HARARE – The MDC-T has called for the urgent disbandment of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) after it controversially awarded commercial radio licences to five companies which have strong Zanu PF links this week.

\n

MisInformation Minister: Jonathan Moyo
MisInformation Minister: Jonathan Moyo

In a statement issued Thursday, MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu said “On numerous occasions, the Zanu PF regime has purported to be a democratic government that respects and upholds fundamental human rights and freedoms.

\n

“However, the contrary is true. The Zanu PF regime remains locked in a fascist and totalitarian mode in which any voice that is perceived to be anti-establishment will be routinely suppressed and undermined. Dictatorial regimes the world over are notorious for thwarting freedom of expression as well as freedom of the media.”

\n

“BAZ is a statutory body that the Zanu PF regime has packed with regime apologists and die-hard Zanu PF functionaries such as one Tafataona Mahoso; the BAZ chairperson, who is a threat to media freedom.

\n

“In the digital age that we are living in, it is a shameful anachronism to have the BAZ being chaired by someone of the calibre of Mahoso, a complete and unrepentant Zanu PF sycophant who will do everything within his power to thwart and suppress freedom of expression and freedom of the media,” the statement read.

\n

“The MDC takes note of the fact that both ZiFM and Star FM are strongly linked to the Zanu PF regime. In fact, these two national radio stations are a de facto extention of the Zanu PF propaganda machinery.”

\n

Gutu also said “It is, therefore, totally unacceptable to have AB Communications, a rather shady company with some links to the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), being awarded two licences to run commercial radio stations in Masvingo and Mutare.”

\n

“Our economy shall remain in a comatose state for as long as the likes of Mahoso are still occupying seats on the BAZ board. The MDC shall continue to unreservedly condemn the Stalinist tendencies of the beleaguered Zanu PF regime,” added the statement.

\n

The call for the BAZ members to step down also comes after Nehanda Radio exposed the Zanu PF links to the companies which were awarded commercial licenses this week.

\n

BAZ awarded licenses to the following companies to operate commercial radio stations in eight selected urban centres:

\n

 AB COMMUNICATIONS

\n

Its major shareholder is a Zanu PF cabinet minister and legislator, Supa Mandiwanzira. He is the current Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services. Mandiwanzira also owns a local radio station, ZiFM.

\n

His company won two licenses (Gogogoi FM and Faya FM in Masvingo and Gweru respectively).

\n

Kingstons

\n

Trading Nyaminyami FM and KE100.4 FM in Kariba and Harare respectively. Kingstons is a 100% parastatal under the ministry of information.

\n

Fairtalk Communications

\n

Trading as Skyz Metro FM and Breeze FM in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.

\n

Owned by Qubani Moyo and Cont Mhlanga. Zanu PF sources also said Information minister Jonathan Moyo is also linked to Fairtalk communications and is a silent executive.

\n

Moyo is a former MDC official who resigned and joined Zanu PF soon after the 2013 elections. He is a close friend to Jonathan Moyo.

\n

Zimpapers

\n

Trading as Diamond FM in Mutare and is part of the state media and runs another station Star FM.

\n

Ray of Hope

\n

Which is trading as YA FM in Zvishavane is owned by former ZBC chief executive officer Munyaradzi Hwengwere.

\n

Hwengwere was once the Principal Secretary in the then Department of Information and Publicity in the President’s Office, second in command to current Permanent Secretary in the ministry George Charamba. – Nehanda Radio